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REVIEW: 'The Book of Eli'

REVIEW: 'The Book of Eli'

REVIEW: 'The Book of Eli', Flicks.co.nz

3 stars


A post-apocalyptic tale, in which a lone man called Eli (Denzel Washington) fights his way across America to protect a sacred book that holds the secret to saving humankind. Now playing in cinemas.

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Coming hot on the heels of The Road, Eli is a far more conventional and formulaic vision of future hell. Yes folks we're in Mad Max, Terminator Salvation and even The Postman country as a grizzled, bible toting and quoting Denzel goes on his ‘lone wolf’ (or Littlest Hobo) mission to save humanity, one town at a time.

Gary Whitta's story follows a traditional western template with Washington standing in for Clint Eastwood as the man with virtually no name, although the late, sneaky twist is very welcome. And for a tale with distinctly religious overtones there is an awful lot of un-Christian behaviour from all parties.

Using bleached visuals, a dissonant atonal electronic score and the occasional slo-mo, the Hughes brothers try to pep up proceedings but they have to resort to shadows for a lot of the fight scenes, perhaps because Washington is feeling his age. Oldman never really gets out of second gear as a bad guy, while cameos from Gambon, de La Tour and Malcolm McDowell seem odd rather than essential. But it is good to know that even in a desolate future MP3 players still work and KFC towelettes can perform a vital task.

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