Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The Book of Eli

Over lunch I thought I would take a peek at the film The Book of Eli which I had debated seeing in cinema when it was released. I am not a fan of post apocalyptic wasteland films, especially those showing the survivors living in primitive anarchy. In this instance there appears to have been a scorching sun burst so that only those well below ground with sufficient food and water were able to survive.

The film appears set in California and is about a super fighting man (Denzil Washington) on a mission, driven to take what he believes is the only copy left of the St James Bible to where it will be appreciated, somewhere in the West. He encounters a young women apparently on her own seeking help, but he literally smells a trap and used a sword knife to slay the five or six men when they come from hiding to demand what he is carrying in backpack.

He stops at a small makeshift town intended to resemble the embryonic towns of the Western where the local warlord (Gary Oldman) thugs to go out in search of a Bible, because he believes this will give him power to create more than one town. The thugs cannot read and only those who are elders have the ability to read from time before the global catastrophe.
Washington has two missions. The first is to recharge his i Pod and the second to find fresh water which he is advised can be made available at a price from the nearby saloon brothel. While the water container is being prepared he encounters one of Oldman’s book search raiding parties who he witnessed killing a male traveller and raping his female companion. They produce books and magazines for Oldman, suggesting that the written text has become a form currency. One then takes offence because Washington shoos away an aggressive cat and within moments there are between half and a dozen dead bodies on the saloon floor. Washington is captured at gunpoint and is asked to join the warlord because of his fighting powers, when he refuses he is given 24 hours, locked in a room but given food and unlimited water. He also offered the daughter of the female concubine of the warlord. She begs to stay in the room although he rejects her offer, because not to do so will result in her mother being hurt.

She then discovers the book which he refuses to show her its contents but recites the 23rd Psalm and before eating hold hands and says a from of grace. The following morning she repeats the grace to her mother within earshot of the warlord who forces the girl to reveal that the book has a cross on its leather cover. He and his men storm into the room where Washington is held to find that he is not there. The guard is shot as a consequence. Washington sets off meantime having retrieved his i pod. He is followed by the girl who wants to join him and she offers to show him where the water is, a cavern Spring on the basis that he will taker her. Admitting that he had not said he agreed to take her he locks her out of the entrance to the roadway so she has to take a different route to follow him.

The warlord sets out in a four vehicle fleet of armoured vehicles and his best men, but returns to the town deciding to set off after sleep. The girl encounters the same trap as Washington but he manages to arrive before she is raped by the surviving two members of the gang. The two then encounter an elderly couple played by English actors Frances Le Tour and Michael Gambon. They accept a cup of tea but sensing the couple have survived through cannibalism make to depart only to see the approach of the Warlord. He says he will let him go if Washington yields the book, and also the girl who is wanted by the second in command. The quartet make a fight with three surviving a rocket attack and then two a machine gun. Washington and the girl are captured and although he gives up the book to save the life of the girl, he is shot and appears to die or is left to die. On the journey back to town the girl escapes killing two henchmen and making off with the vehicle back to where Washington was abandoned. Oldham having acquired the book sets off back to town with the remaining gangman.

The girl finds that although wounded Washington is again on the road going West, they now have a vehicle to continue the travel, getting as far as the middle of Gold Gate bridge festooned with abandoned vehicles, until encountering an impassable gap for a vehicle. They make their way to the shore and take a rowboat to the island of Alcatraz which appears to show signs of a normal environment. There he finds a group led by a curator Malcolm McDowell who has a store of recovered treasures and a printing press. Washington commences to recite the full bible from memory. Back in town the Warlord has difficulty opening he locking clasp but when as assistant does so for him the book is discovered to be in braille. He demands his concubine reads to him but she refuses, laughs at him because he had used his force to get the book and now the saloon is being overrun by the rest of the own.

Back on Altratraz the task of reciting is completed and Washington dies and is buried. The printed book is placed between the Text of Judaism, the Muslim and other faiths. The girl is invited to stay but taking the sword and the i pod she sets off back home, appearing to have become the spirit of Eli.

No comments:

Post a Comment