Unlike The Road, The Book of Eli does not linger on the bleak, morose and desolate dying Earth. The world in Book of Eli while barren and hot, is also filled with brutal killers and savages, but there always appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel. I liked that. Coupled fine performances by Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis and Gary Oldman, we see the best of both worlds here.
In a way I wish Mila and Denzel's characters could have walked with Viggo and his son in The Road. I doubt any of those cannibals would have survived to tell the tale. I'm talking the guys on the truck and the mob that chased and murdered the woman and her child. But getting back to Book of Eli, I think the town and the ruthless bully boy gangs seemed a bit too much. All of the men seemed to take orders from Carnagie unconditionally. This puzzled me, especially after the first town shootout (Which Killed 10 Or 12 men) and the melee in the bar which slew 15 people. That would have been half his gang of enforcers dead or seriously wounded. Yet we see in the end what happens when there are not enough enforcers to enforce his will.
I liked this film better than The Road mainly because there was a "light at the end of the tunnel." This allowed me to dream that things would get better for the planet. Nothing like that existed in The Road, which may have been more realistic, yet in movies we search for escapism not realism.
Mila Kunis plays Solara, and she is incredible. She goes from being a naïve barmaid to an attempted rape survivor to a tough chick that kills and maims and garrotes those in her way. The guy who wanted her made a big mistake underestimating her tenacity. When she got out of the truck and tossed that grenade with super accuracy I said to myself--look out--boom!
Both The Road and Book of Eli have numerous allusions of cannibalism. The Road is the most literal representation of this horror, whereas Book of Eli cannibalism is mostly alluded to yet it is no less frightening. I give this DVD Four Stars. I'm the 1972nd person to review this film. I also want to say how I loved the graphic novel that was produced about Carnegie's life pre nuclear holocaust. It explained his character and made me understand why he was motivated the way he was to seek the Bible--even though it cost him 85% of his men and the use of his leg due to the poor medical technology of the time. Buy it and you will enjoy it more than The Road. Although Viggo Mortenson's performance in that film (And Kodi's) were spot on. Yet Leonard Maltin only gave Book of Eli Two or Two and a Half Stars out of Four. He gave The Road Two and a Half Stars to about Three Stars. See my reviews for both movies.
A. Nathaniel Wallace, Jr.