The Book of Eli

Year: 2010
Studio: Sony
Director: The Hughes Brothers
Writer: The Hughes Brothers/Gary Whitta
Cast: Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis, Gary Oldman, Jennifer Beals, Michael Gambon

The prospect of another version of The Road with more action was tempting enough already, but with Albert and Allen Hughes behind the wheel it was almost a given I'd love it.

There have been naysayers – the twist is ridiculous in hindsight, it's unrealistic, etc. Fine, but the original Transformers was loved by more people, and they didn't expect (or get) realism.

We find Eli (Washington) trudging through a world with a more advanced state of decay than the one The Man and The Boy inhabit in John Hillcoat's slow-burning child-rearing parable. The wind had burned away the clouds of nuclear ash and a baking sun blazes down, burning anyone along with the traces of radiation in the air. There's little greenery left and in some stunning long shots, enormous nuclear blast craters pockmark the ruined landscape.

Something – he's not even sure what – is leading him west with a very precious cargo, a leather-bound Bible he reads every night. On foot and with only a knife and shotgun, Eli often has to fight his way out of scraps with marauders and hijackers on the road, but he sees them all off with far superior chop socky, all from behind his dark shades (hint number one).

When Eli stops in the ruins of a town run by the mobster Carnegie (Oldman), he only wants to recharge his batteries and move on. But Carnegie wants the Bible Eli carries with him, realising that with the word of God on his side he can rally and rouse the people into complete servitude to him. Eli makes good his escape with Solara (Kunis) in tow, the daughter of Carnegie's servant girl, trying to keep their heads out of the gunfire of Carnegie's hoods to see what the fate is that awaits them when they reach their destination.

The end has some nice surprises that round out the great story, with awesome visuals and blistering action capping the whole effort off.

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