x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

The Book of Eli

Yet another post-apocalyptic film, and one that, while just about watchable, is ruined by a terrible ending.

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The Book of Eli is set in a world of the future, some 30 years after an epic war that left most humans dead and rendered water so scarce that people clean themselves with wet wipes. Directed by the Hughes brothers, best-known for their hyperviolent graphic-novel adaptation From Hell, this film is a comic-book take on post-apocalyptic America. Eli (Denzel Washington) acts as a lone wanderer heading west with a sacred book. He becomes a warrior, correcting the moral wrongs along his path during highly stylised fight scenes. The Book of Eli is the latest in a long line of post-apocalyptic films, following recent offerings such as 2012 and The Road. At times, it is visually stunning. The sepia tones and lack of colour make the set of wrecked fly-overs and barren Wild-West towns all the more foreboding. Unfortunately, the film develops as a less entertaining, more morally conscious take on I Am Legend. Anti-consumerism is just one of the many heavy-handed messages stamped through this film, as Eli bemoans the fact that "we used to have more than we needed". There are moments of humour, as when the camera pans to reveal an abandoned J Crew store or shows Carnegie (Gary Oldman), the despotic leader of the outpost, reading a hardback on Mussolini. Yet these are few and far between, and the script is pretty poor. On the whole, The Book of Eli is watchable, but an unimaginative story line and a terrible ending prevent it from being entirely enjoyable.