Sunday, 24 January 2010

Movie maths: The Book Of Eli

The Road + Children Of Men = The Book Of Eli

A Western in all but period, The Book Of Eli is both a welcome return for filmmaking twins Albert and Allen Hughes after the intriguing disappointment that was From Hell and further proof that when it comes to acting badass Denzel Washington is head and shoulders above the rest. This isn't a great film — we'd be talking three out of five if we were talking stars — but it has much to admire, not least Don Burgess' bleached/ash-coloured digital cinematography, Denzel's samurai-esque man-on-a-mission, Michael Gambon and Frances De La Tour as an eccentric elderly cannibal couple, and the Hughes' classical approach to filming action, favouring widescreen composition and long takes rather than cutting like crazy. It's a film that wears its influences — Mad Max, Sergio Leone, Kurosawa, Fahrenheit 451 — without shame — witness, too, a poster for A Boy And His Dog  plastered to a wall — although I wish someone would cast Gary Oldman as something other than a scene-chewing baddie, as entertainingly malevolent as he is. Ultimately, though, The Book Of Eli doesn't add that much new to the post-apocalyptic movie landscape — other than an exhilarating "one" take action sequence straight out of Children of Men — and arguably suffers in comparison to John Hillcoat's recent adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's novel The Road which it somewhat resembles. Less depressing, though.


Bill said...

I'd add Unforgiven to that equation.

Mark Salisbury said...

And I'd have to agree with you Bill.