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Movie: The Book of Eli * Official Site In Theaters: Jan. 15, 2010
Runtime: 118 minutes Directed by: The Hughes Brothers
MPAA Rating: R for some brutal violence and language 4 Gecko Gecko Rating:

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I saw “The Book of Eli” last night with my 15-year-old son. It’s rated R and has a few scenes of gore and violence, so if you’re at all squeamish about that stuff, be forewarned.

The story takes place after some sort of apocalypse. We know that “30 winters have passed since the flash,” so it sounds like some sort of nuclear explosion. 

Denzel Washington takes center stage as a guy named Eli walking to the west coast with a coveted book in his possession. It’s the only known book of its kind; the rest were destroyed after the war. One man named Carnegie (Gary Oldman) wants to get his hands on that book.

More after the jump…

Carnegie has access to a water spring, and is thus lording it over people who’ve gathered in one spot – a town of sorts. The entire country is a wasteland of crumbled buildings, barren and windswept lands, and people struggling to survive by any means. Crime is rampant, as the women and weaker people are preyed upon by those with weapons and strength.

In Carnegie’s stead are two women trying to make the best of things – Solara (Mila Kunis) and her blind mother Claudia (Jennifer Beals). Also in the town are lots of thugs doing Carnegie’s dirty work, as well as a shopkeeper/engineer (Tom Waits) who agrees to re-charge the little battery that Eli uses with his worn iPod.

When Carnegie realizes that Eli has the book, he plots and schemes and will do whatever is necessary to get that book. Meanwhile, Claudia feels her daughter will be better off with Eli, so Solara ends up tagging along with Eli on his journey west. She’s curious about the book, and we learn that it has something to do with faith.

Eli tells her that long ago, he heard a voice in his head that told him where the book was, and that he had to journey to a place somewhere in the west. He’s not sure why, but he has faith that all will be revealed in the end. That’s the overall message in this movie.

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I won’t reveal a few big “wow” moments towards the end, but they’re definitely of the “wow” variety. You get a few hints along the way of what’s to come, but when the end credits roll, you realize this movie is all about faith and what people can accomplish with it.

Denzel Washington is grim and determined in his task to get that book to the West Coast, but you also see that he has a heart for humankind. He knows that his mission is bigger than any struggles he encounters along the way.

“The Book of Eli” is gripping, never boring, and you’re drawn into the story from start to finish. Mila Kunis can play just about any part, whether it’s funny, sexy or apocalyptic, and Gary Oldman makes a great bad guy. I also love that this movie is washed in gray and sepia tones. It’s all very eerie.

I definitely recommend checking out “The Book of Eli.” Yes, it’s apocalyptic and dismal, but it’s much more hopeful than “The Road” (read my review here), another recent doomsday movie. Whereas “The Road” left you with the feeling that we’re all doomed no matter what, “The Book of Eli” gives you a glimmer of hope that things will work out, no matter what happens.

“The Book of Eli” Trailer:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6UvIwyjLxw]

Images: TM and (c) 2008 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

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