Thursday, 11 February 2010

The Book of Eli

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Dirs: The Hughes Brothers (From Hell, Menace II Society)
Cast: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunas, Ray Stevenson, Jennifer Beals
USA, 2010

Seen: January 16, 2010

Reason to see: Killing time between other films, and it's stars Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman and Ray Stevenson

So, it's time to see Denzel kick some butt, eh? It's weird, when I first saw the trailer for The Book of Eli I though "Doesn't Will Smith usually get that role?" (see: I Am Legend, Hancock), but I'm always us to see what Denzel because he pretty much can do anything in my book. Book. heh. Anyhow, he does do a pretty good job here as a man-with-a-vision-and-a-mission type, but I was also quite taken by Gary Oldman performance as an evil-yet-cultured ringleader type.

So, most of the performance were good and the action was innovative (but a little too crafty for me), but where film really shines is the uniqueness of the story. This is agenre where we tend to see the same thing over and over but here the storytelling is really well done, drawing us along giving out just enough information to question but not doubt the post apocalyptic world creates. It's a beautiful balance to be vague enough to pull you along in the general direction it's going without saying to much. Seeing restraint in this manner, even from the point of view of trailers, feels all to rare in film.

Going into the film I felt that it was mostly going to be just an action film set in a post apocalyptic world but it ends up being a lot more than that. You'd expect seeing the connundrum of moral choices and survival methods, but there is a whole lot more going on here, on and below the surface. The film manages to touch topics from society structures to belief systems to settling vs taking action, and then some. I'll give it kudos for going for gusto and tackling some pretty fascinating points of view, but overall even with the ideas to ponder I couldn't sit back and enjoy the film. Want to guess why? What it often comes down to for me to quash the enjoyment factor: gender crap.

Yes, gender crap rears it's ugly head here way to much for my likely. There is some pretty awful stuff to sit through in this world of scavengers and the like, and I get so sick of showing this particular scenario when women are under constant threat of predators. Why do women get the short end of the stick in futuristic fiction? I mean, it's bad enough that there was an apocalypse, but this way it's like saying it is to survive it. How depressing. For that alone I didn't enjoy it and wouldn't watch it again, which is too bad because it had an awful lot of interesting ideas.

Shannon's Overall View:
I didn't love it
I doubt I'd watch it again
I'd recommend it to fans of post apocalyptic action flicks that don't mind gender crap.

17 minutes of preshow including 3 commercials and 6 previews: Inception, Shutter Island, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, Brooklyn's Finest, Clash of the Titans (2010) and Edge of Darkness

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© Shannon Ridler, 2010

1 comment:

Jenny said...

I love Gary Oldman - it seems like he nearly always plays the evil villain man, and I think he has a much greater range than that. <3

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