Opening 18 Feb 2010
Film directors Allen and Albert Hughes choose strength by simplicity to celebrate a new decade in filmmaking. Their simple narrative, premise and delivery provoke its audience to actually think and be entertained in The Book of Eli. Known for more action-packed adventure and gore, the Hughes twins choose a slow-moving, post-apocalyptic western including an all-star cast: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Jennifer Beals, Ray Stevenson, Michael Gambon, Frances de la Tour, Tom Watts, and Malcolm McDowell, to pull-up the stakes for the film’s profundity. Similar stories have hit the big screen and journey to like worlds that embody squalor and disregard for mankind. This type of exploratory film genre receives undeserved negative press, which unfortunately puts the questionable narratives into one box. If the audience has an open mind to view, then it will allow them to come along side of the filmmaker and enjoy the process to explore the creepiness of the question “what if”: the crux of how these films develop their own style and message, regardless of the eccentricity. In The Book of Eli, using the latest technology of a small digital still camera called the RED ONE, shooting 24 frames per second, adds to the complexity of the cinematography visuals but gives the depth of eeriness that can tell the story alone without words.
The ante resurrected in The Book of Eli (to embrace understanding, truth-telling, and be courageous), brings to light the value of conscious moral ethics eminent from days gone by. The Hughes brothers have the nerve to take the subject matter one step further. They play out the scenario of a world absent of moral consciousness, and eloquently incorporate the desire for power, knowing that somewhere the desired guide book to a once well-loved life of goodness still exists.
Eli (Denzel Washington), a middle-aged, street-wise gentleman, is traveling on foot from the desert plains of the Midwest toward the ocean seashores of the western United States with only the clothes on his back, a backpack and special weapons for self-protection. The open road he travels is a dangerous one, but the mission he is asked to perform is even more perilous. Spoken to by a voice of the supernatural, Eli is asked to carry a cherished rare book out west to a place where such books are secretly desired for preservation. The promise to Eli for his willingness and commitment to be obedient is that when he reads the book along the way, he will be granted wisdom and knowledge to know how to bring the book to safety. Eli’s challenge, tested over and over again, gives him a renewed assurance that a love for moral ethics is still alive and can prevail. (Karen Pecota)