Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Road vs. The Book of Eli

Recently i watched two post apocalyptic movies back to back. The Road starring Viggo Mortensen and The Book of Eli starring Denzel Washington. Both movies featured great performances from the lead actor but for me Eli stood head and shoulders above The Road.

I was really looking forward to seeing Road and when i finally did i have to admit i was a little disappointed. The movie's tone was devoid of hope as Viggo walks the abandoned countryside with his son trying to avoid cannibals while searching for food and shelter. I was trying to figure out why the pair just didn't do themselves a favor and commit suicide. That seemed a better alternative then living in constant fear of being eaten or watching someone else eat your son. Charlize Theron had a small role as Viggo's wife, who upon giving birth to her son decides to go out and leave her family once the apocalypse starts. Her story is told in flashbacks as Viggo wrestles with the memories of her while remaining a guiding force for his son. This movie wasn't predictable but you never got a sense that anything good was going to happen out of it which made for a depressing watch. It had it's poignant moments between father and son like the part when they found a house with running water and were able to clean themselves up. Moments like that were few however as the moment was too short and they had to pick up and keep moving to avoid being eaten!
I found that the son's innocence became annoying and i almost wouldn't have minded if the son got caught. Because the son's character represented hope in this movie i can see why the son was played with such naive but c'mon if you were raising a son in this situation you will be teaching the young lad how to look out for himself and fight tooth and nail to survive. This seemed unrealistic that the boy was so pure in a world gone mad. We tend to be products of our environment so i would have thought that since he was born in the apocalypse he would have been more hard, especially since dear old mom just walked out and left him behind with dad. The Road features a fine cast including Robert Duvall, Guy Pearce in addition to Viggo Mortensen but the story winds up leaving this cast at a dead end.

The Book of Eli stars Denzel Washington. Nuff said! You can't go wrong with Denzel! Anything he's in is gold! You know what you are in for when Denzel is at the helm...great acting and a fun enjoyable movie! I dare you to find me a bad Denzel movie. Go ahead i'll wait...see you can't do it! Denzel is the man! After watching this movie i was really surprised it was made by a major Hollywood studio considering the movie's faith based content and gasp Denzel quoting scriptures. It might sound jaded but after all this is an industry that shuns, mocks and generally disregards Christianity so i was pleasantly surprised to find the underlying positive spiritual message in this flick.
A disaster places Denzel on a journey across the USA with a mission to protect this mysterious book. However, when you're watching this movie there isn't constant dread because as long as Denzel has the book with him then there is hope. Gary Oldman portrays the villain who discovers that Denzel has this book that could give Oldman control of all weak minded people in his village. One of the coolest shoot out scenes in recent memories takes place when Oldman tracks Denzel down in a farmhouse out in the middle of nowhere. The Hughes Brothers directed this movie and instead of doing the traditional First Person POV like was done in Saving Private Ryan, they opted instead to place the viewer smack dab in the middle of the firefight! It was really cool as bullets whizzed by and the camera whipped around to find its target. Nicely done! The movie's originality was refreshing as was Mila Kunis presence on screen as Denzel's buddy once Oldman starts going after him. As the pair are trying to elude Oldman, Denzel is imparting wisdom from this book which turns out of course to be the last King James Bible in the world. Great fight choreography, smart writing with a nice twist that the viewer doesn't see coming and great acting make The Book of Eli a must for any home library!

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