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The Book of Eli a Thrilling Adventure

Published January 15, 2010 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of Warner Bros
Book of Eli Poster Book of Eli
The Book of Eli really takes post-apocalyptic movies to the next level. We’ve seen all the different ways people can survive in such settings. That’s interesting, but Book of Eli actually uses all of it. It’s a thrilling adventure with an intellectual statement to make. Not at any expense of thrills, mind you. On the contrary, it’s quite thrilling to see a movie with a point of view.

Book of Eli Review


Ah, all my supplies and exploration. He doesn’t find much but at least he looks. He finds skeleton cars, empty houses trying to find running water. He does find some good shoes, and he carries some KFC moist wipes so you know he found those somewhere. His surviving iPod with a makeshift power source shows that he’s even ingenuitive with entertainment.

I was going to lament that all this survival was interrupted with a plot, but the plot of The Book of Eli is so good that it just builds on the survival world. It actually pays off things and develops with the way Eli has established himself. There are different survival techniques on the road and fun stashes of weapons and traps to find. It’s funny how just showing scenes of life actually gives viewers a sense of the world. You don’t have to talk, talk about why things are happening.

Eli can fight. His moves have the grace of Hong Kong martial arts, the brutality of Thai and the efficiency of Jason Bourne.



The actors develop the archetypes they’re playing. They don’t just recite the clichés. Yeah, there’s a bad guy with henchman and there’s a reluctant protector of the innocent. Why not? It works and this is the top version of it, the most believable. You believe that all the bad guys are bad shots, because they’ve probably never had to fire a gun before Eli posed a threat.

The language of this world is slightly simple, as if people have reduced their conversation to the basics since there are so few people left to talk to. Solara tells Eli, “I promise I’ll be no trouble” like some fair maiden at a medieval inn. And that’s our impression of a medieval in, not how they probably actually talked.

I suppose the book Eli is carrying is supposed to be a secret. I don’t know how you could not figure it out with the language they use to describe it. You’d have to have no culture at all not to know what book they’re talking about, but I’ll leave it at that. What the book is isn’t as important as what the characters want to use it for. Maybe you won’t like what the film has to say about the power of certain books, but at least it says something powerful.

The Book of Eli just does everything I want a movie to do. It excites me, it fascinates me and it captivates my intellect. That’s all we’re ever looking for.
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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of Warner Bros
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