Saturday, January 23, 2010

Movie Review - The Book of Eli

The Book of Eli - **

Starring:  Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Jennifer Beals

Review:  I wasn't sure what to expect from this movie, Denzel always brings his A-game, so I wasn't worried about that.  However, the post-apocalyptic survivor story has been done, it's hard to bring originality to it and can definitely be hit or miss.

What I got from this movie was more originality than I thought I would get, some decently good performances, a super bad-ass Denzel Washington, and of course the gorgeous Jennifer Beals and Mila Kunis.

The movie follows the path of Denzel Washington's character, whom we can guess from the name of the movie is Eli but go for about half the movie without being told that as an audience.  Washington's character keeps talking about and alluding to his "quest" and "keeping on the path."  What quest?  Where does this path lead?  All these are the questions that, with answers promised, are supposed to keep us interested in the storyline.  Unfortunately, it doesn't do as good of a job at that.  The movie will slightly keep you compelled to try to figure out this quest, but it becomes apparent about half way through and takes a lot of the fun out of it.  Further, based on the nature of the quest the movie becomes slightly hokey.  Not to the point that it is distracting, but enough to make you notice.

Another beef I had with the movie was it's lack of character development.  The movie seemed content with using the characters more as set pieces to drive the story than to actually tell the story.  They were somewhat flat and there was no dynamism to the characters.  You felt no change taking place with the characters, no metaphorical journey that they make, only a physical one.  None of the events in the movie seem to have any impact on the characters, they just accept it and move on.  For a movie so focused on one central character this presents quite the issue.  What I will say is that the actors do well with what they have.  It is apparent that the problem with the characters is in the source material, so the actors were able to get all they could from it, which I appreciate.  Denzel always brings his A-game and played a badass very well.  Gary Oldman always plays well in supporting roles and does so here.  Mila Kunis is awfully easy to look, although her acting skills leave something to be desired.

The best part about the movie was it's production design.  The post-apocalyptic world looked really good and was the best part of the movie.  The costume design was great and all this gave the movie a look and feel that made the post-apocalyptic setting seem more realistic.  Again, Denzel was awesome and the fight scenes were excellently choreographed and played out.  Ultimately, the movie was worth your time only if you like these types of movies.  It had enough in it to enjoy, but nothing that makes it too memorable.

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