Rajeev Masand – movies that matter : from bollywood, hollywood and everywhere else

March 26, 2010

Dark nights

Filed under: Their Films — Rajeev @ 2:08 am

March 26, 2010

Cast: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman

Director: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes

The Book of Eli stars Denzel Washington as a seemingly indestructible mystery man who’s been walking for some 30 years across the ravaged landscape of a post-apocalyptic America, slicing and dicing the muggers and rapists he encounters along the way. Tucked away carefully inside his backpack is the last remaining copy of a book that a psychopathic mob leader (played by Gary Oldman) has been trying to get his hands on for the longest.

Directed by Albert and Allen Hughes, The Book of Eli makes for a somewhat interesting watch, not least because it intersperses elaborate action scenes with long-winded sermons about faith.

With so many biblical allegories and spiritual references tossed around the place, only the most inattentive viewers will need to actually see the book before they can figure out what coveted tome is the centre of dispute here.

Shot starkly yet stylishly, the film packs in moments of bleak brutality that are hard to get out of your head — like that chilling opening scene in which our grizzled hero astutely hunts a cat. There are a few flashes of wry humor too — like the one in which Washington and a companion discover that the old couple offering them hospitality might have cannibalistic tendencies.

But it’s those two surprise twists in the end that save this film from turning into a predictable mess. They deliver those much-needed jolts just when you’re about to sink into a deep, bored slumber.

I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five for The Book of Eli. Watch it you have the patience, and if you’re not turned off by gruesome blood-shed.

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