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Movie Review: The Book of Eli

Alternate Title: Man With a Mission

Story: After yesterday's apocalyptic special Senate race in Massachusetts we decided that a film about a post-apocalyptic world seemed to fill the bill. We were not disappointed. This is a thoroughly engaging (if uneven) film directed by Allen Hughes and Albert Hughes and written by Gary Whitta.

It is 30 years in the future after a global disaster of unspecified origin. There are enough hints of what caused the nightmare to keep the story plausible.

A lone man, Eli, is walking across the country, searching for a safe place to deposit his Book, which he believes will save mankind. A tall order for anyone, but Eli is riveting, believable and determined. I went with it. Combine the visuals of a scorched Earth with elements of graphic novels, old fashioned Westerns, some fine action, interesting characters and you have yourself some good entertainment.

The Hughes brothers added just enough humor and touches of quirkiness to stem the overall tension in this very scary future world. The film does get a bit preachy, but it did not bother me since I took the film in as more of a graphic novel than a film with a big message (although I am sure they were trying to get a big message across).

Watch the trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKfZrbS79To

Acting: Denzel Washington as Eli was mighty fine. Gary Oldman as the evil Carnegie was delicious and scene chewing. Mila Kunis as Solara was the weakest link in the chain. The supporting cast, including, Ray Stevenson (Redridge), Jennifer Beals (Claudia), Tom Waits (Engineer), Frances de la Tour (Martha) and Michael Gambon (George) were all more than fine.

Trivia: Directors Allen and Albert Hughes are twin brothers. Mila Kunis has two different colored eyes. Mila and her family moved from Ukraine to LA when she was 7. She learned to speak English from watching the "The New Price Is Right". She said Bob Barker talked slow enough for her to understand him. She is engaged to Macaulay Culkin. They've been together since 2002.

Predilection: I like Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman.

Critters: Oh dear. Cats do not fare well in this film. The opening sequence features a cat being hunted and shot with an arrow. There is a cameo appearance by a very sweet rat.

Food: Not plentiful.

Blatant Product Placement: Old worn signs of Busch and Puma. Cannot believe they paid for that but you never know.

Soundtrack: Haunting.

Opening Titles: All title are at the end.

Visual Art: Director of photography, Don Burgess does a fabulous job of depicting what the scorched Earth might look like after a global disaster. The film is desaturated of color and while this technique has been used before it works very well here.

Theater Audience: About 15 other post-apocalyptic fans.

Weather: Scorched earth is not petty.

Sappy Factor: 0

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: There are a few fight scenes that are a but squirmy.

Drift Factor: I paid attention throughout.

Predictability Level: There were a few surprises.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Probably not.

Big Screen or Rental: Big screen for sure.

Length: Two hours.