Film Facts:

The Book of Eli – Released in 2010, starring Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman, and directed by Albert and Allen Hughes.

The Apocalypse Scenario:

A global nuclear holocaust, presumably the result of a global thermo-nuclear war, although it isn’t explicitly specified. Civilization has essentially been wiped out and there is significant environmental damage, including irradiated water, lingering radioactive fallout, and vast desert wastelands.

The Year:

The film takes place 30 years after the nuclear holocaust, only a few survivors still remember “the before time”. The actual time of the holocaust isn’t specified, but judging from the items that are left, namely iPods, KFC wet-wipes, RPGs, and station wagons, the nuclear destruction happened right around this week. I think it’s safe to say that the film takes place within a couple years of 2040.

What They’ve Run Out Of:

Basically everything: shampoo, batteries, gasoline, and chapstick are all hot commodities. Safe drinking water is very important, as is safe food, and in its absence many people have taken to cannibalism. However, what the film centers on (if you haven’t guessed it already) is books, and one book in particular: the Bible. Many books were lost in the destruction and afterward any remaining Bibles were burned, apparently many people saw it as the cause of the nuclear war. Eli, the protagonist, is carrying what is, presumably, the last one left on earth.

What this Film Adds to the Post-Apocalyptic Genre:

While most of the content is well conceived and depicted, it’s also pretty standard: roaming biker gangs, cannibals, bows and machetes used along with guns, desert wastelands dotted with ruined overpasses. What sets this film apart and also makes it a whole lot more interesting, is a surprisingly strong Christian element. All of us here on Shut Up agreed that it was the most overtly Christian film since The Passion of the Christ, and that’s no overstatement. While the film avoids explicitly mentioning Jesus or God, Eli quotes Psalms and talks about faith. The film acknowledges that the authority of Scripture can be abused by dictators, but it also depicts the depravity of humanity and the necessity of God’s Word. There is also a surprise ending (so don’t let anyone spoil it for you) that only makes sense if you factor the providence of God into the events of the film.

Book of Eli

Luke’s Rating:

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A solid four zipped-lips; it’s not perfect, but it’s well made and surprisingly good. If you haven’t seen it yet, do it. If you have, see it again with someone who hasn’t, you’ll certainly talk about it afterwards. Don’t forget to check out the rest of our movies in the Post-Apocalyptic Roundup!

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