Film Reviews

THE BOOK OF ELI

By • Jan 18th, 2010 •

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Powerful and thought-provoking. A forecast for our time.

A few days ago, I got back from a tour called “The Route of the Maya” in several Central American countries. We toured Mayan temples. Only 5% of Mayan temples have been uncovered!

When asked about the Mayan Long Count calendar, everyone went apoplectic. It is not the End of the World! It just means, hedging the forecast, that one cycle ends and another begins after December 21st, 2012.

Why did the ancient Mayan or pre-Maya choose December 21st, 2012 A.D., as the end of their Long Count calendar? Scholars have known for decades that the 13-baktun cycle of the Mayan “Long Count” system of timekeeping was set to end precisely on a winter solstice on December 21st, 2012 A.D. (13.0.0.0.0 in the Long Count), representing an extremely close conjunction of the Winter Solstice Sun with the crossing point of the Galactic Equator (Equator of the Milky Way) and the Ecliptic (path of the Sun). This is an event that has been coming to resonance very slowly over thousands and thousands of years. It will come to resolution at exactly 11:11 am GMT.

As told here, the last war caused the Sun to get too close to Earth. Everything burned up. Years after the chaos, no one has started up civilization. There are no books left and no one remembers what it was like to be civilized.

(In the event of the 2012 Apocalypse, I will survive. I plan to follow the Mormon’s Emergency Preparedness program or, move to Utah.) In THE BOOK OF ELI, Earth has gone to Hell in a handbasket.

A ‘Walker’ (Denzel Washington) is walking west. It is clear he has been walking for a very long time. He knows how to survive in a world of absolute anarchy. He has amazing skills and, when he meets a gang of killers on the desolate road, takes out a sword and massacres all of them in swift double time.

Those who survived the last war and the subsequent Sun’s blast many years ago are illiterate, dirty, and have nothing. There are people who have survived by eating human flesh. They are identified by their shaking hands.

The Walker comes into a town ruled by a merciless, self-styled dictator named Carnegie (Gary Oldman). He is the only person who can read. He rules the town with a ruthless gang of killers led by Redridge (Ray Stevenson). Carnegie is mean and miserable for no clear reason.

He wants to be Dictator-For-Life and expand his empire by building more towns. But he needs one special book. And the Walker has it. We do not know what the book is until Carnegie’s blind mistress, Claudia’s (Jennifer Beals) daughter Solara (Mila Kunis) tells him that Walker said a prayer. Carnegie knows the prayer’s genesis, the Holy Bible.

The Walker refuses to give up the book that Carnegie feels will enrapture the people to do whatever he wants. He’s feared, but he wants to be loved.

Carnegie, as I see him, wants to be like the Pharaoh Akhenaten (the father of monotheism) who publicly declared Aten, the sun god, to be the only god. Akhenaton then went on to claim he was the only human being who could commune with Aten.

Carnegie needs the powerful words that are in the book that the Walker possesses. He’s got a God-complex.

Killing a lot of Carnegie’s men, the Walker leaves the town only to be followed by Solara. Promised Solara by Carnegie, Redridge agrees to follow the Walker and get the book.

The Walker tells Solara he has been reading the book for 30 years. A voice told him to find the book in a pile of rubble and to walk West. Thank God he hasn’t been walking for 40 years in the desert.

As directed by the Hughes Brothers, THE BOOK OF ELI is stunning and thought-provoking. The screenwriter, Gary Whitta, has given Washington a role only he (and perhaps Tom Hanks) can play. He is righteous. He has been called and we believe him. Only Washington can be believed as a man who refuses food, warmth, women and companionship to follow a voice.

The cinematography by Don Burgess is compelling and frightening. The wasteland of Earth is haunting.

The outcome, and why the book is called the Book of Eli, is nicely done. The Holy Bible – I have many – has influenced and directed culture and civilization. If not the Holy Bible as the template for living, what? The Twilight saga?

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2 Responses »

  1. CORRECTION:

    Don Burgess was the Director of Photography.

    Gae Buckley was the production designer.

  2. Way to spoil what the book is. Also, thanks for the crackpot Mayan stuff cluttering up the review.

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