In The Book of Eli, Denzel Washington plays a mysterious stranger moving through a shattered post-apocalyptic landscape of dessicated ghost towns and cannibalistic marauders carrying the only surviving copy of the King James Bible. This magical book possesses the power to save mankind and must be protected at all costs. Think Pale Rider meets The Passion of The Christ meets Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
So The Book of Eli entertaining enough “in it’s own little mud-brown way” (as per Stephanie Zacharek’s scathing review in Salon.com) It tries hard, mostly using CGI on a studio set, to evocate of a particular nightmarish time and place, and its not without its dramatic tensions. Why quite so many hammy English character actors are out in the New Mexico desert, though, is not explained.
It’s also not explained what caused the war in the first place. My bet it would be blind, prescripitive, thoughtless adherence to – or rather wilful, selfish misinterpretation of – the good words written in that precious book. As Stephanie says: “The Book of Eli. Read it and weep.”