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The Book of Eli

4.4 out of 5 stars 1,712 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Eli walks alone in post-apocalyptic America. He heads west along the Highway of Death on a mission he doesn't fully understand but knows he must complete. In his backpack is the last copy of a book that could become the wellspring of a revived society. Or in the wrong hands, the hammer of a despot. Denzel Washington is Eli, who keeps his blade sharp and his survival instincts sharper as his quest thrusts him into a savage wasteland... and into explosive conflict with a resourceful warlord (Gary Oldman) set on possessing the book. "We walk by faith, not by sight," quotes Eli. Under the taut direction of the Hughes Brothers (Menace II Society), those words hit home with unexpected meaning and power.

Amazon.com

With unflappable cool and surprising gentleness, Denzel Washington strides a bleak and barren world in The Book of Eli. Eli is headed west, but on the way, he passes devastation and squalor, and occasionally he must mete out some devastation of his own with a sharp blade. But when he arrives in what passes for a town in this dust-and-ash future, the power-hungry owner of the town's bar, Carnegie (Gary Oldman, looking a million years old), covets his one important possession. (Spoiler alert, sort of: it becomes apparent pretty quickly that it's a King James Bible.) Conflict ensues! Though the plot is simple and the "mystery" of the book doesn't last long, The Book of Eli is carried along effortlessly by its star. Washington has always had a compelling mixture of authority and tenderness, and it's this latter quality that makes this contribution to the testosterone-and-violence-drenched post-apocalyptic subgenre unexpectedly human. The script, while not particularly original, has effective dialogue and is smart enough not to explain too much. The supporting actors--including Mila Kunis (Forgetting Sarah Marshall), Jennifer Beals (who hasn't aged a day since Flashdance), and Ray Stevenson (Rome)--are all capable and easy on the eyes. The movie's bleached-out, sepia-tone look isn't new either, but it suits the subject matter. Anyone who wants to be offended by the movie's spiritual conclusion would be wiser to enjoy the subversive insinuation that religion can enslave as much as save. All in all, a competent action movie with some enjoyably atypical elements. --Bret Fetzer

Special Features

Additional scenes
Lost Tales: Chapter 1 (Carnegie's Story)

Product Details

  • Actors: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Ray Stevenson, Jennifer Beals
  • Directors: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    R
    Restricted
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: June 15, 2010
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,712 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B002ZG997C
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,850 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Book of Eli" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael J. Tresca VINE VOICE on February 3, 2010
Format: Blu-ray
The Book of Eli is a vastly underappreciated film that mixes martial arts swordsmanship, a post-apocalyptic setting, and a biblical narrative.

A war, over thirty years ago, killed off many people in the United States. Others were blinded from the blast. This creates an interesting disparity between those over thirty years of age who received an education and those under thirty who know nothing of the modern world (at one point, one of the thugs asks, "What's a television?").

This is an unpleasant world. Cannibalistic brigands ambush unwary travelers, identifiable by their shaking hands. Water is at a premium. Batteries are hard to find. The Book of Eli makes it clear that there's no currency, only barter.

Roaming the land is Eli (a subdued Denzel Washington), carrying a book with a cross on it. This book is greatly desired by Carnegie (a greasy Gary Oldman), who is also old enough to remember the power such a tome can have over the people. While Eli has been wandering for thirty years in pursuit of such a destination, Carnegie has been sending illiterate henchmen to retrieve every book he can find. The encounter between the two has all the fire and brimstone of a battle between heaven and hell.

Thrown into the mix is Solara (played beautifully by Mila Kunis, who finally sheds her trademark accent), a young, attractive girl who has grown up under Carnegie's protection but, as she flowers into womanhood, is about to become a bargaining chip, a piece of meat, and a lure. When there's no one left to protect her, she becomes a wanderer in Eli's footsteps.

From a religious point of view, it's educational to understand who Eli was in the Bible.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I was hesitant to watch The Book of Eli for a while because of mixed things I'd read. Some people claimed it to be 'too religious' and others said the movie was just plain boring. Honestly, the trailers I'd seen didn't exactly win me over, but I gave the movie a shot when I was sick one day, and man did I enjoy it. If you've played the Fallout games, especially Fallout 3, you will -love- The Book of Eli. So many similarities in the look of the wasteland, in the combat scenes, the importance of water, and more. But even if you never played Fallout 3, The Book of Eli is a very enjoyable movie, provided you're not one of those people that immediately hates anything 'religious' and claims a movie is preachy, given that the subject matter here is religion...so that kind of makes you weird to say that. I'm not a Christian, and I'm definitely not an Atheist, but I didn't find anything 'preachy' about The Book of Eli.

The world is in shambles. There's no law for the most part. Raiders are everywhere, looting, raping and eating people that pass by. Clean water and food is tough to find. Of course it's a rough life. Most people wouldn't think much of it, but imagine your life as you know it right now taking a turn for the worst, and you no longer have any luxuries- you're a scavenger from now on. That's the world Eli lives in. Eli is on a mission, and tries to stay on the path, as he puts it, and needs to go to a specific location to deliver an important book that no one else is allowed to see or read. At the same time, the ability to read has been lost over the years, and very few people are able to do so. Eli is one, and the other is a corrupt man, Carnegie, who runs a town that Eli enters one day to charge his iPod and haggle with the shop owner.
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Format: Blu-ray
The post-apocalypse sub-genre of science fiction has always been a place I like to go. I'll give movies of this type some slack I wouldn't always give other kinds, so that even a relatively weak post-apoc flick like Doomsday (in which Malcolm McDowell appeared, as he does here) still has its interesting moments. But if it's a good one such as I Am Legend, I'm really into it bigtime. So I've been eagerly anticipating The Book of Eli from the time the first trailers appeared, and now that I've seen it there were many things about it I liked. Start with the mythic prophet main character. His super-heroic weapons skills showed there was something unique about him early on. Those scenes were generally pretty cool, and they were spread out pretty well over the length of the film. (Any more fight scenes would have bored me.) Eli's story plays out with a kind of grim determinism, although it also has hopeful elements as well. I was glad I wasn't previously familiar with the story, as the major revelations about the Book in the final act were a complete surprise. Mr. Washington was an excellent choice for the lead. Other roles were well cast too, including (to my surprise) Jennifer Beals as the blind mistress of Gary Oldman's bad boss character. Oldman himself struck just the right notes of ego, madness & desperation. Anyway, as far as the post-apoc nature of the movie, it provides fascinating glimpses of which possessions would be really valuable in such a world (ex., chapstick yes; cigarette lighter, not so much), and other aspects of survival felt very authentic throughout the film. All in all, it wasn't quite the adventure I was expecting (with occasional pacing issues), but I still found it to be an enjoyable viewing experience.
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