The Collegian
Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Featured Flick: The Book of Eli

I went to two Christian middle schools, and had to go to church every single Wednesday. My visits to church included two hours of singing and listening to sermons and studying the back of the head of the person in front of me. "The Book of Eli" was like a slow version of church,

only instead of standing up - and waking up - to sing every few minutes, there was a fight. In total I think there were 15 minutes of action.

Really, though. I was a little exasperated by the movie's story. Usually there are three acts in a script, which roughly equate to a beginning, a middle and an end. Here, there was the Alpha and Omega and no middle to speak of. And although you'll be surprised by the surprise ending, you won't ever really care, probably because all of this has been done before - in 1979 in "Mad Max" and last year in "The Road."

Even the actors are doing what they've always done. Denzel Washington is still a martyr - not that that's a bad thing - and he manages to pull all the righteous talk along even as he spares some and condemns others. And Gary Oldman is an iconic villain. Not so much in this

movie, but in "The Fifth Element," an amazing film starring Bruce Willis and Chris Tucker.

Who knows? Perhaps the unoriginality of it all is the brown filter's fault. It seems to be its own character, really for no good reason. And I just don't get Mila Kunis's part. She's 26, living in a destroyed wasteland where every three scenes someone's getting raped and her stepfather is a monster who'll do whatever it takes - even sell her - to get Eli's book, and yet she's shocked when it almost happens to her. Talk about naivety.

What's more, it's been 30 years since the sun fried the earth and practically none of the women - and few of the men - have learned how to defend themselves. So apparently only Washington's character has taken the whole thing about roaming bands of cannibals and rapists to heart.

The little touches make this worth watching - at home, on television, for free. During one of the few action sequences, you'll notice a "watch for children" sign. Don't worry. If you notice it, you'll understand. The new Eden is housed in a prison and Oprah's book list now includes a biography of Mussolini. Also, you get to see Michael Gambon - a.k.a. Dumbledore - as a cannibal. That alone was almost worth admission.

Contact staff writer Jordan Trippeer at jordan.trippeer@richmond.edu

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