THE BOOK OF ELI
Walk by Faith, Not by Sight
Starring: Denzel Washington, Gary
Oldman, Mila Kunis, Jennifer
Beals, Francis de la Tour, and
Runtime: 118 minutes
Distributor: Warner Bros. Pictures/Time
Director: Albert Hughes and Allen Hughes
Executive Producer: Steve Richards, Susan Downey,
Producer: Joel Silver, Denzel
Washington, Broderick Johnson,
Andrew A. Kosove, and David
Writer: Gary Whitta
Address Comments To:Jeffrey L. Bewkes, CEO, Time Warner
Barry M. Meyer, Chairman/CEO
Alan Horn, President/COO
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (New Line Cinema)
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522-0001
Phone: (818) 954-6000
Thirty years after a final war has wiped out most of the planet, leaving it in dry, ashy ruins, Eli (played by Denzel Washington) walks across what is left of America carrying with him a sacred book that he hopes will restore mankind and bring about a better future. Every day he reads the book and trusts the voice he hears telling him to head west to find a safe place for the book. Driven by his commitment and guided by his beliefs, he is not a man to be easily deterred by anyone or anything. As he nears the end of his travels, he meets a young girl, Solara (played by Mila Kunis), who becomes intrigued by Eli and his faith, especially after he shows her how to pray, which is something she has never done before. In her desire for hope and to know the truth in the book that he carries, she joins Eli on his mission. Eventually, he accepts her companionship after rescuing her from some men attempting to rape her.
Solara’s evil stepfather and self-appointed leader of a town of thieves and gunmen, Carnegie, portrayed brilliantly by Gary Oldman, is also intrigued by the book but for different reasons. For years, he has searched for the book, understanding the power that its words hold for mankind. He seeks to harness that power for himself and to use the words of the book to control the hearts and minds of the remaining populace. After discovering that Eli carries the book he desperately wants, Carnegie pursues him with the intent of killing him and keeping the book for himself.
As Eli flees with Solara further westward, his interactions with her teach him to live out the truth he has learned even if that means giving up his own life and the book for someone else’s. He realizes that he has placed the book itself at a greater value than helping humanity, and that truth cannot be contained in just words alone but must be practiced.
As he is coming to this realization, their travels lead them into a final confrontation with Carnegie where his faith is truly tested as they have no choice but to stand and fight against evil.
THE BOOK OF ELI is very compelling and awe-inspiring, with excellent production standards as well as absorbing character portrayals by Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman. The movie’s blatant support of Christianity and the not-so-subtle references to the Bible are greatly encouraging and very surprising for a major theatrical release. Throughout the movie, the character of Eli prays and even teaches Solara how to pray who in turn teaches her mother. He consistently quotes Scripture and is shown reading the sacred book, committing it to memory. Eli also tells Solara to walk by faith and not by sight. At the end of the movie Eli says, “I fought the good fight, I finished the race, I kept the faith.” Thus, the movie has several very uplifting moments.
It is abundantly clear that the character of Eli has faith in God and lives by that faith no matter the circumstances or obstacles that arise. His character truly believes that the words of truth he carries will build a better future for the ravaged planet, and nothing in the story contradicts his beliefs. The bad characters are clearly bad and justice is served in the end. Even during a confrontation with an evil henchman, Eli tells him that he will be held accountable for all the things he has done.
Regrettably, extreme caution is advised for the movie’s excessive amount of extreme, brutal violence as well as some scenes of implied rape and attempted rape, and an unnecessary amount of foul language. It may be difficult for many viewers to sit through a few of the scenes because the violence is at times so abrupt and unexpected, almost shocking. Please see the content section for a more complete explanation of the objectionable material.
THE BOOK OF ELI is very captivating, awe-inspiring, and ultimately uplifting, with excellent production standards and absorbing character portrayals. The movie’s blatant support of Christianity and the overt references to the Bible are greatly encouraging and very surprising. Throughout the story, Eli prays, teaches others to pray, quotes Scripture, and walks by faith in God. Regrettably, extreme caution is advised for the movie’s excessive amount of extreme, brutal violence, some scenes of implied, attempted rape, and unnecessary foul language. It may be difficult for many viewers to sit through some of the violent scenes.