Wow. Just wow.
I just saw the Book of Eli at the Arclight (for free!) and I just have to say The Hughes Brothers did a great job filming the post-apocalyptic America with Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman.
Most Hollywood does not deal with faith, either testament or if they must deal with Judeo-Christan ethos, it is usually to be mocked. Not here.
The story is simple: A wanderer (Denzel Washington) in a destroyed America is carrying a mysterious book and trying to get "west," Along the way, he encounters a warlord named Carnagie (Gary Oldman) who is searching for a book; It turns out the book the wanderer is carrying is the same out of print book that Carnagie is looking for. Solara, played by Mila Kunis, sees the dynamic between Carnagie and the Wanderer and chooses sides in this Dying World. Her blind mother. Claudia (Jennifer Beals) is Carnagie's mistress. The irony is, Carnagie is a bibliophile in a world where people don't read and Claudia can't.
The Book of Eli is a New testament parable written with Old testament characters. The Wanderer is a prophet in this dying world, praying and reading where others cannot. He hears the voice of G-d within him (told in a tale, not done cheesily with special audio effects), telling him to find the book after the End (or as they call it in-film "Before,") and to take it "West,"
Denzel Washington plays his character with a coolness that is lacking in the dying world. When he enters a scene, it becomes his. And with Gary Oldman? He plays a villain with depth, and he learns the old lesson, you can't win the world sometimes without losing your soul. Oldman eats up each scene with flair. His aide-de-camp is played by Ray Stephenson (Pullo in HBO's Rome). Kudos as well. Kunis takes her character and makes it work. And it was good seeing Beals again on the big screen.
Most screenwriters follow a set path with Three Acts, a protagonist and an Antagonist, all very cookie cutter if you see enough films. What makes Book of Eli stand out is the Twist after Act Two. It is a Sixth Sense Twist that you will want to watch the movie over again for the signs.
I would recommend Book of Eli to sci-fi fans, Social Conservatives and those who have read the Torah. Again, after Act Two, it blows you away.
Wander through dystopian America to see Book of Eli.