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quietearth [Celluloid 01.15.10] post apocalyptic movie review action

Year: 2009
Directors: The Hughes Brothers
Writers: Gary Whitta
IMDB: link
Trailer: link
Review by: quietearth
Rating: 5.5 out of 10

I have to admit I am not a fan of Denzel Washington. He always plays the same "strong black man" role, and while I haven't seen all of his films, seems to have no range. That said, his quiescent fortitude and resolution made him perfect for this role, a one man mission commissioned by God and executed in a perfectly understated "I'm not a hero" manner. Too bad The Book of Eli spent too much time on the drama and ended up a mediocre film reminiscent of an 80's post apocalyptic movie.

What starts as a lonely journey with some stunning backdrops, arthouse style shots and slow motion sequences almost turns into the "reluctant hero" storyline when Eli enters a town. Controlled by Carnegie (played by Gary Oldman who was nothing but boring in his role), I was already expecting a Western as we'd had some great action sequences between our protagonist and some bandits, but that's not how it turned out. The town sequence starts more like when Afro Samurai ordered a lemonade and ended up partially destroying the bar. Here is where the action comes to a halt and we sidetrack into the drama.

Carnegie wants the book. We're not exactly sure what it is, but we're led to believe it's the Bible. From here more stuff happens, but let me stop and complain about Mila Kunis. Her role was unnecessary and she can't act. On a positive note, the ending was good. There's also a little surprise early in the film that goes along with a good song.

I think this could have been a great film if it had concentrated more on it's spiritual message and kept us in the wasteland.

Oh, and aparrently it's easy to find cool eyegear 30 years after the apocalypse.

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phantomspacecop (12 years ago) Reply

Hey now, SOMEbody's gotta play the "strong black man" since there's like less than a handful of black male American actors who aren't completely boring or unrealistic as sci fi heroes. But digressing, the film sounds dull anyway and I think I can wait for the DVD.

And to say nothing of his cool eyegear, wtf is he doing in an apocalyptic scenario with an operational iPod?


Godot (12 years ago) Reply

When the Apocalypse comes you'll be glad you invested in that solar cell charger for your iPod.


witchman (12 years ago) Reply

We all know, when the end comes....the only 3 things that will be left on this earth will be a: cockroaches
b: Apple
c: Lemmy


Anonymous (12 years ago) Reply

e. the 212 clones of george lucas needed to run and maintain skywalker ranch.


donc48 (12 years ago) Reply

I agree Denzel Washington is an acquired taste, and some of his roles have not done him justice as an actor. I think he has the same issue most actors have that is getting scripts that play to his strengths as an actor. I would love to know what motivated him to do this movie. I heard William Forstchen who wrote One Second After on a local talk show and he told the host if he had a choice in who would play the lead in the movie it would be Denzel because he projects a warmth and sincerity as parent, I think that’s in his range I just don’t think if OSA is done as a movie Tom Cruse would more than likely get the role, Hollywood being the very odd place it is.


John Ranko (12 years ago) Reply

There is a case underway against The Book of Eli's writer Gary Whitta and plagarism re: Freedom Deep. See what the fuss is about at or see the preview


NoNameNoSlogan (12 years ago) Reply

Wow..."strong black man" what type roles would you like to see Denzel play? There's been a few comments on this site about Denzel being wrong for "saving the world" because he's black.
such as "I don't believe it when Will Smith saves the world either." How about you just write the fucking review and leave race out of it.


sylook (12 years ago) Reply

''reminiscent of an 80's post apocalyptic movie''

Isn't that a good thing?

''it's easy to find cool eyegear 30 years after the apocalypse''

You can also find cool eyegear in the worst hellholes of pirate-infested Africa. It's practically the same thing..

''When the Apocalypse comes you'll be glad you invested in that solar cell charger for your iPod''



Skinstripper (12 years ago) Reply

Wow, horrible review. You should go back to writing sugar packet ingredients. Mentioning Afro Samurai and Strong Black Man, you might as well as said he's clean without a negro dialect. Wow.

And your review said absolutely nothing about the movie. In fact, it will probably make people want to go see it, as you didn't like it, and obviously you wouldn't know a good movie if it kicked you in the face.


Old Weird Ken (12 years ago) Reply

I agree the movie was mediocre.

Wait for it to come on cable. I felt my money was wasted paying for a theatre ticket (matinee at that), and I would not pay the DVD rental fee to watch it.


Christina (12 years ago) Reply

I really expected a better review than this. I do believe to each its own but you said very little about the movie that mattered. I can understand why Denzel would pick this movie. Possibly because it sends a message. And it's sent througout the entire movie, FAITH. The world has got to the point where faith is vaguely remembered or believed in. Whether it's faith that's religious, within someone or yourself. I actually enjoyed the movie. Yes, somethings could have been left out but as you said the ending was good. As for Denzel playing the strong black man, well it must fit him if he's constantly being awarded the role. Whether you like it or not, HE MAKES HIS MONEY!


Anonymous (12 years ago) Reply

It's the Hughes Brothers, who do expect them to use Johnny Depp? I was never really interested in this film anyway regardless of the review. It just looked like it was going to be crappy. Just another dusty PA flick.


Gav (12 years ago) Reply

A shit film? What
Veering away from the action? What
What about the rocket launcher and the gatling gunning of the house.
What about the heads being lopped of left right and centre.
This was some of the best choreographed fight sequences i have seen in a film. It is precisely because theyre not used(fight sequences) as the mainstay of the film is the reason you are left wanting more and appreciating them so much.

I'm a normal white guy but from reading your article i have to conclude that you are either.
A: Racist


B:Thick (and don't know the first thing about films)

How, i must ask did u get a job writing for this website??

Please people, don't let this crappy review put you off seeing a great film from start to fininsh. (Fair enough Mila Kunis' acting wasn't oscar worthy, but that was more than made up for by two stellar performances from gary oldman and denzel washington). Oldmans acting was far from boring, he made it easy for you to love to hate his character, by the end you were loving the suspense created vy the hughes bros. and looking forward to oldmans character getting what he deserved.



Anonymous (12 years ago) Reply

complaining about a PA movie on this site is ironic don't you think? I liked this movie better than The Road, what movie were you watching dude.


Kevin D. Hendricks (12 years ago) Reply

I liked this movie, of course I'm a sucker for PA so I'm destined to like it. I think some things could have been better, but in general it told a decent story and had some beautifully bleak cinematography.

I think the whole Carnegie-villian schtick was a little flat. I never really understood the motivation--why go against everything the Bible says to procure one? If you're going to do that, why not just pretend you found it and make crap up?

Despite some flaws, I thought it was an interesting addition to the genre.


JackCrow (12 years ago) Reply

As a devout Christian, and a firm believer in the WORD of GOD, I can honestly say that the movie is absolutely perfect.

Sunglasses aside, role Denzel played was executed perfectly portraying a TRUE BELIEVER in the WORD and THE GOOD BOOK.

You dear Sir, who wrote the review, are blinded by fetishism for special effects, wasteland ( such as all the rotten soul's of heathens are ), to see the real message the movie conveys, and that is that The Faith and Strong Beliefs can MOVE mountains, as flesh becomes stone, and not even physical harm, disease or bullets can hurt those who are beset upon their path.

Sad are those who give in on ideas of race, color, or religion, to separate and brand their fellow man, for their place is already booked in the lower depths of hell, where their true wasteland shall be theirs for eternity to come.

I whole hartedly reccomend this movie to anyone willing to follow a good story, portrayed trough many of the Van Buren ( yes Fallout canceled project) concept art, excellent story, with NO drama, only true basic stripped down feelings and emotions, time and fallout of civilization of man has found himself in.

Also to say that The Enclave concept from Fallout is apparent, and so are the compositions of wrecked cars, weapons, barter store, and yes the pod player.

The connection of Montag and R.B. Fahrenheit 451 and the book people is also apparent.

As for Freedom Deep, garbage, and the homosexual perversion and blasphemy it conveys, by :writing: some garbage perverted and invented book, all I can say, they'll all burn too.

Shameful review quietearth, I have not come to expect from this site, and you Sir deserve to be pointed out publicly, and spat upon for what your blasphemous narrow minded views are.


wilcoy (12 years ago) Reply

I'd have to say, I liked it especially the clever revelations at the end.I felt Denzel Washington's performance was spot on as a loner carrying the last King James Bible. The quirky elderly cannibal couple was funny and that firefight scene soon after was magnificent. On whole the post-apocalyptic landscape was awesome and nostalgic to the 80's P-A films. Also, how about the movie poster in the background when Eli was being locked in the room obvious salute to the classic 'A Boy And His Dog'.It was worth my price of admission. Too bad quietearth you didn't enjoy it.


Bob Doto (12 years ago) Reply

Hmmm... lots of responses on this film/ review. Lots of very possitive ones too... Strange.

Things I liked about this film:
1. The ending. (Not the VERY ending, but the good part of the ending. The obvious part).
2. Old cannibal couple and the ensuing fight scene.
3. Some of the lensing.

Things I didn't like bout this film:
1. Lack of ANY strong female characters.
2. Denzel's complete unbelievability as a many-years-going road warrior. (The dude is fat. Eat much?)
3. The fact that skinny jeans are still popular post-apocalypse. Pleeze.
4. Most of the acting, with the exception of the obvious two male leads, which were *OK*. Not great. Just ok.
5. The fact that you can tell 2,000 different people had a hand in making this film based on the fact that no one could decide what kind of film to make.
6. The return (once again) of the "Magical Negro" (read up on it if you haven't yet).
7. The fact that once again US military (guarding the library) some how are the protectors of the new world to come, and yet it's inferred (and very believable) that they were the strong arm of the whole bloody apocalypse to begin with. The so-called new world post-US-apoc ain't gonna have them in it, friends.
8. The missed opportunities at every step of the way to make a story as good as this one actually good, and not a trite piece of shoulda-starred-Mel-Gibson drivel.
9. The obvious Ameri-centrism of the whole thing (see #7), which is just getting old for God sake. Speaking of the Bible, I do remember a little something in there about serving two masters. Give it a rest Hollywood.
10. The fact that the Bible is the tallest bound book on the shelf at the end next to the Chumash and the Qur'an which is a wee little thing on the shelf. Apparently they couldn't find anything other than the tiny Penguin edition? I've got five. They can have one of mine.
11. The fact that they don't have Denzel recite the chapter of Leviticus which condemns everyone and their mother who farts at the wrong time of day. Would've loved to hear that part during that glorious cathartic scene. (Before you jump down my throat I read the Good News everyday, so... back off).
12. The fact that after sleeping through the recitation of said Bible our cute little supporting actress somehow thinks she can now run off into the Wild West and fight dragons and NOT get slaughtered in about five seconds, as she almost did throughout the entire rest of the film.
13. I can go on and on.

People. Hey, I like a good Faith-in-God-Rules the Day film as much as the next person, but this one just didn't have the shops to hold up to it. There'll be others. You don't have to blow this one all day. Wait for the next, and hopefully better one to come along.


FALLEN101 (12 years ago) Reply

I agree that the review was a little spotty, it could've used a bit more length and depth but I also have to say that it wasn't that good of a film, slightly above average, no more.

I'm not a reader of the Good Book, I'm not really all that devout of a Christian so when I found out that the Book of Eli was about a Bible I thought that it would try and shove the Good Word down my throat, which for all intents and purposes it did. That didn't really make me like it all that much. The cinematography was good, the coloring was bleak and wonderful, but besides that the film was severly lacking. For me it focused too much on religion at face value, not going in depth like such things as Neon Genesis Evangelion and a couple other religious themed films/shows, and not enough PA. I wanted to love it, I really did, and it just let me down.

I have to agree with Bob Doto and Quiet Earth, the movie isn't all that great, it isn't all that terrible but it isn't all that great. And what's up with the whole conversation nearly becoming a flamewar? You can spout your opinion without insulting anyone by calling them a racist or whatnot. Everyone's entitled to their own opinions on a film, if you don't agree with Quiet Earth's, just say that without all the insults.


killcrop (12 years ago) Reply

Well I don't agree at all with this review..I had no desire to see this movie..nor am I religous in the biblical sense..but the movie caught me and wouldn't let glad it wasn't an action felt...right..sure gary oldman looks more and more like old dracula in evry movie he does..and im not a big fan of denzel..but here he was amazing.he's def an underrated actor..this role proves it..and it was nice to see tom waits in the minor but great role as the engineer..sure the movie had holes..but it was the small details like the "shaky hands" that made it a great cinematic experience..shit..I liked it more than avatar..that I considered eye candy..this was a good oll fashioned pa movie..and in a pa world..would you expect large amounts of action?or situations of great violence far and few between..I give this movie a lot of was well done..and I urge everyone to give it a shot..whether in theaters or on dvd.


killcrop (12 years ago) Reply

Movie are meant to entertain and sometimes inspire..this one was a diamond in a large patch of rough...I think the fact that religion was the supposed "cause of the war" was a great idea..religion controls the masses..whether it be christianity or a muslim sense of murder..god killed more people in the bible than satan ever did..and I guess they're the greatest folklore characters ever created..but it does make good entertainment.


johnnybravo8802 (12 years ago) Reply

I loved how, out of all the people in the world, God chose one man to save the rest of the people, and he was black!!!Of course, all the white people are depicted as ignorant and with poor hygiene. Go figure, the producers were black. The building up of the blacks and building down of the whites is getting a little old!!!!


mlc1977 (12 years ago) Reply

I thought this movie was an extreme dissapointment. One of the worst movies I have ever seen. The trailer made you think that it would be a "set on the end of your seat" movie and it did nothing but want me to go to sleep. Do NOT waste your money at the theaters, do NOT waste your money at the rental store, use the movie instead of your regular sleep aid. Denzel what were you thinking???? You are ruining your reputation of being a good actor.. I had to come home and watch a good movie just to get that pathetic excuse for a movie out of my head..



eli (12 years ago) Reply

mic1977 if the movie was so pathetic and you want it out of your head why are u here commenting and thinking about it?


Lefthook1970 (12 years ago) Reply

I can't do anything but laugh when I read the reviews. There was nothing that gave me an idea of how the movie was, only on how certain people feel about Denzel Washington. He would of recieved outstanding reviews and comments if he played the role of a dirty cop who at the end of the movie gets his butt kicked by a skinny little white boy and is killed by the Russian mafia. Maybe he should play the role of a crackhead, or a Crip or Blood gang banger. People we still have a long way to go when the race of the people saving the world bothers you.


mcdoombot (11 years ago) Reply

johnnybravo8802 = privileged little white shit who thinks the white race is somehow being "oppressed". Needle dicked motherfu*ker.


Hardley (11 years ago) Reply

More Hollywood brainwashing the gullible. More of it's bias race promoting that is racist gay promoting, race complaining,


Halet (11 years ago) Reply

Horrable Hollywood and more dumbing down of America.


Anonymous (11 years ago) Reply

Fuck all yall talking shit on black peoples blood on piru yall bitches sittin on ya computer talkin shit but yall couldnt make it in the hood


NickPriest (11 years ago) Reply

Uh bob doto: in regards to your "penguin sized" books comment- the king james bible he carried was braille. Real braille bibles are quite large and printed in multiple editions, so it is likely that they got smaller versions of the other books to give the illusion that the bible was larger.

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