The Book of Eli

Watched this post-apocalyptic film last night.  Wasn’t exactly sure what to think of it.  Enjoyed the ride, but when it was over, I thought it felt kind of empty.  There were a few thrilling fight scenes, and the Belly of the Whale moment was good, but for whatever reason, I had no empathy for the hero.

Except for an interesting twist ending, the movie was largely predictable in the same sense that The Titanic was predictable.  There was, however, a nice surprise in the end that caused me to roll back and watch a few scenes again in order to appreciate them.  I’m continuously amazed at how many clues a writer or director can throw at me and still the twist goes over my head.  Unfortunately, it’s not clear to me that the director was entirely honest with the twist.  That is, as I rolled back the reel, I could see something very clearly that I did not see clearly at the end of the movie.  (I have been handed a level of disagreement on this by an argumentative cohort.  But I’m not convinced I’m wrong.)  Watch the movie.  Then roll it back and see if you see in the middle what you see at the end.  I don’t think it’s there. If it isn’t there, the twist isn’t entirely honest.

The underlying plot of the movie is difficult to believe.  There is only one copy of the book left on the planet.  If you believe that Eli is just a crazy man, you can pass off his comment as simple delusion. It makes that part easier to buy, but it makes other parts of the movie less so.  If you believe what Eli says about himself, then his statement about the book carries the weight of God.  I don’t care how much book burning goes on, it seems highly unlikely that there would ever be only one copy of The Book left.

I didn’t much care for the sepia toned cinematography.  It gave it a nice desolate feel, but for me, it kept pulling me out of the movie.

I recall three positive messages I took from the movie. One was said to Redridge and Carnegie.  There’s always a choice. The other two were passed to Solaris by Eli. The first one, stated as a directive to her was to quit whining and change your situation if you don’t like it. The second was an observation about his own journey and perhaps a resolution to change.  That is, observe to do what you believe and not just get caught up in reading it.  Wise words.

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