In a post apocalyptic future, a loan man travels the desolate roads on a solitary quest. The man known only as Eli (Denzel Washington), has been travelling west for decades on a mission of faith after receiving what he believes to be a mission of divine origin.
The solitary life of Eli is interrupted now and then by bandits that roam the lands causing death and mayhem to all those unfortunate enough to cross their path.
This often ends very badly for the bandits as Eli is highly skilled at defending himself with all manner of weapons, especially a very large knife.
It is his deadly skills that lands Eli on the radar of as local dictator named Carnegie (Gary Oldman), who desires to add Eli to his army as he plans to restore society under his rule. The town Eli finds himself in is the first in a planned series of towns that Carnegie plans to rule, and a man with the knowledge and skill of Eli is simply too good to let get away.
In an attempt to entice Eli into his service, Carnegie provides Eli with food, water, shelter, and women. When Eli is presented with the lovely Solara (Mila Kunis), he refuses to take advantage of her and instead leads her in a prayer before sharing his food with her.
This kind act touches Solara who recites the mysterious words of the prayer to her mother in an attempt to learn the meaning of what Eli was saying. Carnegie discovers what Eli has said, and learns of a book in Eli’s possession that he has been guarding for many years.
Carnegie is obsessed with obtaining the book as he sees this as the missing piece to his planned empire and will stop at nothing to obtain it.
What follows is a deadly game of cat and mouse as Carnegie and his minions are in hot pursuit of Eli and Solara as the future of humanity rests in the balance.
“The Book of Eli” is a winning mix of action and story that cleverly balances the two so that one side never overshadows the other.
The film is driven by the strong performances of Oldman and Washington as well as the simple yet strong message of faith and determination.
Both lead characters have a mystery to them that is never fully explored as the audience is given only what we need to know about each character for the purpose of the story.
The most surprising thing about the film was the strong and inspirational message it contained that may be too strong for some, but to me was not only inspiring but unexpected in a Hollywood film.
In the end, the strong cast, good action, and story makes this a film worth seeing and a pleasant surprise.
4 stars out of 5.