Denzel Washington plays a prophet wandering a devastated landscape on a spiritual mission in a dark, but ultimately hopeful futuristic drama.
He is a solitary figure walking through the wasteland. Well-armed, because he has to be in order to survive a world where chaos reigns; but he also carries a tattered satchel holding his most prized possession …one he is determined to protect at all costs:
It is not gold or jewels, but a leather-bound volume emblazoned with a large cross on the cover:
Denzel Washington stars as Eli, the wanderer on a mission; and the Oscar-winning actor also is producer of the film.
"People have asked me 'is this a movie about the bible?' I said no, this is a movie about power. In fact, here is a man who is on a mission, yet he becomes the most violent man in the world," he said. "At his most violent point this young innocent girl says 'stop!' Here is a man who, because he so focused on protecting, is killing any and everybody who gets in his way; but this innocent girl who doesn't know anything about God …who can't even read …opens him up in a way and reconnects him with his own humanity."
Mila Kunis co-stars as Solara, a young woman who becomes his traveling companion and disciple when he helps her escape the clutches of Carnegie, a petty despot who rules a small town and dreams of greater power …if he can only get his hands on that book:
Carnegie wants to bring a sense of order to the chaos, says English actor Gary Oldman plays the clever and manipulative villian. "I read "Eli" and I thought it was like a western. It reminded me of a western …sort of a post-apocalyptic western without horses, but with armored trucks."
Twin brothers Albert and Allen Hughes directed "The Book of Eli." Allen Hughes insists that the film does not preach or advocate a particular religious belief, but the spiritual aspect of the story is undeniable.
"The movie is about one man's personal faith and having that faith tested and what are you willing to sacrifice for that. We want people to view the movie the way you view the Bible or if you believe in the Koran or the Torah …people will read into it what they want to read into it. People read into the Bible what they bring to the Bible. We were trying to make a movie - it is entertainment as well - that whatever you bring into the theater is pretty much what you are going to take out of the theater, because that is what has happened with that book and that is the debate in the movie. It's tragic in the wrong hands. It's sad what people do with that."
"The Book of Eli" also features Ray Stevenson as Carnegie's conflicted lieutenant. Jennifer Beals plays a blind woman whose hope for her daughter's future keeps her strong. The screenplay is by Gary Whitta and the musical score is by Atticus Ross.