The Book of Eli

THE BOOK OF ELI directed by.

THE BOOK OF ELI directed by Albert and Allen Hughes, written by Gary Whitta, with Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis, Jennifer Beals, Ray Stevenson, Michael Gambon and Frances de la Tour. A Warner Bros. release. 117 minutes. Opens Friday (January 15). For venues, trailers and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN

Cross the metaphysical subtext of The Road with the assured filmmaking of Children Of Men and you might get something like The Book Of Eli – a post-apocalyptic actioner with slightly more on its mind than the usual Mad Max punch-ups.[rssbreak]

Three decades earlier, an unspecified holy war triggered some sort of “flash” that fried most of the population and reduced American society to a series of shabby frontier towns. Passing through one of them is Eli (Denzel Washington), a badass holy warrior who carries with him the last known copy of a certain sacred text, a book the local heavy (Gary Oldman) will kill to possess.

Gary Whitta’s screenplay isn’t particularly original – and its morality is more than a little dicey – but the Hughes brothers invest every frame with energy and intelligence. This is a gorgeous-looking end-of-the-world movie, from its blasted landscapes to the vivid sprays of blood that fly every time Washington gets even mildly annoyed.

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