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Book of Eli

The Book of Eli

4.4 14
Director: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes

Cast: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman


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In a post-apocalyptic America where the once-picturesque countryside has become a desolate and violent wasteland, one man (Denzel Washington) fights to protect that sacred tome that could hold the key to the survival of the human race in this futuristic thriller from filmmaking duo Albert and


In a post-apocalyptic America where the once-picturesque countryside has become a desolate and violent wasteland, one man (Denzel Washington) fights to protect that sacred tome that could hold the key to the survival of the human race in this futuristic thriller from filmmaking duo Albert and Allen Hughes (From Hell and Dead Presidents). Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, and Ray Stevenson co-star in the Warner Bros. production.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
In the event of the apocalypse, there will be a prevalence of machetes, cannibalism, and white guys in dreadlocks and goggles. Things will be bleak, but at least you can follow Denzel Washington around as he wanders the parched landscape with floods of gravitas, occasionally engaging in awesomely staged silhouette-melees with bands of barbarian thugs. This is the basic experience of The Book of Eli. It's not the coolest, deepest, or most badass post-apocalyptic thriller, but it's not terrible, and Washington's performance goes a long way. He plays your basic man with no name, a guy who's been traveling west on an apparent mission from God for the past 30 years -- since humanity effed itself with a massive war that somehow resulted in the sun depleting the earth of all its resources and most of its people. We know that he's a highly skilled ass-kicker; he looks sweet wielding a sawed-off shotgun and can take down entire teams of opponents with a Bowie knife. And we know that he radiates understated charisma; every time he engages with some hard-scrabbling citizen, he subdues them with the kind of mesmerizing charm that could put a rabid dog at ease. And, within enough proximity of the opening credits that it can't be considered a spoiler, we know that he's carrying a Bible with him on his journey, guarding it against all obstacles and foes. Why it's taken him 30 years to reach the West Coast -- even on foot -- is not clear, but as he nears his destination, Washington's character happens upon a town, where Tom Waits barters chapstick and handy wipes, Mila Kunis glances furtively as she serves drinks, and Gary Oldman rules the settlement with an iron fist. So when the badass with no name shows up in the saloon one day and is forced to demonstrate his hard-hitting prowess on a gang of dreadlocked/goggled ruffians, he piques the mayor's interest. Soon, Oldman figures out that the holy book Denzel's carrying is the ultimate tool for controlling and exploiting the masses and sets his sights on obtaining it, while Kunis (who plays his sort-of stepdaughter) joins up with the hero and vows to help him defeat Oldman, and deliver the book to its mysterious destination out west. That whole idea that religion can be used for good or for evil is pretty simplified, but after 2009's Nic Cage embarrassment Knowing, The Book of Eli feels damn near like a graduate-level seminar in faith. And while it's kind of a shame that dystopian heroes don't say much, it can't be denied that Washington's portrayal is top-tier for this kind of movie. The script can be a little weak -- there's a plot twist that may or may not make you gouge your eyes out, and lot of minor developments turn out to make no sense -- but the many pieces that make up the production, from the nuts-and-bolts illustrations of post-humanity survival to the immaculately constructed burned-out landscapes, are often breathtaking. It's clear that with a more sophisticated script to back it up, The Book of Eli could have been a lot better, but for a portrayal of society at the end of all prosperity and hope, it really could be a lot worse.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Warner Home Video

Special Features

Starting Over - Explore the role we might pay in reshaping society after a global catastrophe; Eli's Journey - Probe the historical and mythological roots of the film's central themes; ; The Book of Eli Soundtrack - Co-Director Allen Hughes and Composer Atticus Ross compare notes about the soundtrack's construction and deconstruction; ; Plus: Additional Scenes A Lost Tale: Billy Animated Short covering Carnegie's backstory

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Denzel Washington Eli
Gary Oldman Carnegie
Mila Kunis Solara
Ray Stevenson Redridge
Jennifer Beals Claudia
Evan Jones Martz
Joe Pingue Hoyt
Frances de la Tour Martha
Michael Gambon George
Tom Waits Engineer
Chris Browning Hijack Leader
Richard Cetrone Hijacker
Keith Davis Hijacker
Don Thai Theerathada Hijacker
Thom Harris Williams Hijacker
Lateef Crowder Hijacker/Construction Thug
Lora Martinez Cunningham Young Woman Hijacker
Scott Wilder Middle-Aged Man
Heidi Pascoe Middle-Aged Woman
Jennifer Caputo Biker
Eddie Perez Biker
Spencer Sano Biker/Town Thug
Karin Silvestri Biker
Mike Gunther Sniper
John Koyama Sniper
Mike McCarty Sniper
Scott Michael Morgan Construction Thug Leader
Sala Baker Construction Thug
Arron Shiver Bartender
Justin Tade Town Doctor
Mike Seal Door Guard
Richard Smith Orpheum Patron
Edward Duran Town Thug
David Wald Town Thug
Jermaine Washington Town Thug
Paul Crawford Town Thug
Kofi W. Elam Convoy Thug
Clay Donahue Fontenot Convoy Thug
Al Goto Convoy Thug
Brad Martin Convoy Thug
Tim Rigby Convoy Thug
Luis Bordonada Carnegie Gunman #1
Robert Powell Carnegie Gunman #2
Angelique Midthunder Catling Gun Gunner
Todd Schneider Caddy Driver
Darrin Prescott Suburban Driver
Laurence Chavez Ice Cream Truck Driver
Brian Lucero Alcatraz Guard
David Midthunder Alcatraz Soldier

Technical Credits
Albert Hughes Director
Allen Hughes Director
Deva Anderson Musical Direction/Supervision
Brad Arensman Associate Producer
Derrick Ballard Set Decoration/Design
Gae S. Buckley Production Designer
Don Burgess Cinematographer
Christopher Burian-Mohr Art Director
Lorrie Campbell Set Decoration/Design
John Chichester Set Decoration/Design
Yolanda Cochran Co-producer
Sharen Davis Costumes/Costume Designer
Susan Downey Executive Producer
KNB EFX Makeup Special Effects
Ethan Erwin Associate Producer
Carl Fullerton Makeup
Ricardo Guillermo Set Decoration/Design
Broderick Johnson Producer
Hiro Koda Stunts
Andrew Kosove Producer
Mindy Marin Casting
Cindy Mollo Editor
Erik Olsen Executive Producer
Steve Richards Executive Producer
Siobhan Roome Set Decoration/Design
Atticus Ross Score Composer
Leopold Ross Score Composer
Claudia Sarne Score Composer
Joel Silver Producer
David Valdes Producer
Denzel Washington Producer
John David Washington Co-producer
Steven P. Wegner Co-producer
Jeffrey Wetzel Asst. Director
Gary Whitta Screenwriter


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The Book of Eli 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How can ratings for Book of Eli not include "emotional" and "inspiring" as applicable. True, Denzel Washington is among the best at creating these two attributes in movies. But, the character of Eli and his purpose, regardless of who plays him, is perhaps the most inspiring individual I've ever seen. It's a travesty that, in today's society, we can't see the pure honor in what motivated him. The message of doing more for others than you would do for yourself, what he learned in his journey, is simple but incredibly powerful and, yes, emotional. The learning of this message was his "journey within the journey".
whateverknowsfear More than 1 year ago
(from whateverknowsfear dot com) The Book of Eli is, for good or ill, a perfect, complete knockoff of Fallout 3 the video game. A Lone Wanderer travels the wastes, carrying with him the secret to restoring a post-apocalyptic world to its former splendor, and a vast assortment of killing implements, all of which he wields with unerring accuracy. Along the way, a tinpot dictator who has carved out a hellish kingdom for himself will attempt to take it for his own personal gain. This will not go well for the dictator, since Eli (a name never actually given to the protagonist) is a certified B.A.M.F. The Hughes brothers craft a fairly convincing world, but draw on the conventions far more than creating anew. Shades of Mad Max, The Postman and yes, Fallout 3 color everything, but it's the video game that stands out the most. Whole vistas and literal screenshots seem to have been used to create certain scenes. For those who haven't played the game, they could be viewed as breathtakingly disturbing visions, but as a gamer, they felt cribbed. Standard Post-Apocalyptic movie critiques (Where are their calories coming from if there's no farmland; where is the gasoline/bullet supply coming from?) apply. The actors almost seem to be going through the motions, and with blackout glasses required for most scenes, they are unable to tell a story with their eyes. While I completely understand the thematic (and in-universe) reason for the shades on everyone, it does make everyone's job harder. Mila Kunis's huge, expressive eyes are completely wasted, and the standard mooks and rabble are further dehumanized. Visually, the Hughes brothers are as gory as ever, and decapitations and limb-severings abound. Still, a world of unending brown with bombed-out buildings does grow tiresome. What amazes is the that the movie plays things so completely, totally straight. There isn't a single joke in the entire movie, and "Eli" is never able to rise above "Penitent Badass" because of it. There isn't a whole lot of plot bones to stretch a story over, and the one meager subplot, brought out 2/3rds of the way through, Rendridge's obsession with Solara isn't really explained as to why it exists, other than to add a meaningless subplot that's never explored and resolved without conflict. The ending to this movie contains some sort of ham-handed message about the power of faith and hope, but upon "Eli" and Solara's arrival at Alcatraz the movie devolves into a completely over-the-top, maudlin message-piece and abandons its grittiness for voice-overs and slow fades. Ultimately, the Hughes Brothers missed an opportunity to take normal Post-Apoc convention, add their message of faith and then totally subvert it, but either chicken out or are forced into a conventional Big Hollywood Ending that plays in Peoria, but lacks the punch of their brilliant Menace II Society.
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Big_Al_at_Barnes_N_Noble More than 1 year ago
If you are a person of faith, you will like this film, because it reinforces your religious belief. If not, you will find this film quite awful, particularly if you are a cat lover. The plot is full of holes. The film starts with the hero, Eli, shot and killed a cat, barbecued it, and, just to spite cat lovers, fed a piece to a rat. As the story progresses, viewers start to be aware that Eli was blind, yet he dispatched villains on rooftop with supernatural marksmanship. He got out of a locked windowless room with an armed guard totally undetected, but the viewers have no idea how, because the film never bothered to show the escape. The hero was bullet proof until the end, when it was time for him to be a martyr. The book that Eli carried was the Bible in Braille, but it takes 20 volumes to hold the King James Version in Braille. And the plot holes went on and on. The film is like a glass half full; it just does measure up. For a post-apocalyptic action film, you get better films like "The Road Warrior"; for an intellectually challenging film, you get better films like "The Road." Two Star and I am being generous.
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