Wow. I’m sitting here like someone just passed me a live hand grenade. I have no idea what to think. But yet thinking is all I can do. The clues were everywhere, right in my face the whole time. Subtle, yet in hindsight more powerful than the virtual hand grenade I’m holding. I’m a smart guy but I never saw this coming.
The ever present insomnia and my continued recovery equates to a lot of time on my hands. My cable bill is literally my most decadent expenditure these days. That stated I see more than my fair share of TV and movies. My tastes, and tolerance levels, have expanded exponentially and I can now better appreciate movies I love on a different level. 12 Angry Men with Henry Fonda is a prime example. To read the story outline “12 man jury locked in a room the entire movie debating the fate of the accused. Black and white” you’d be yawning. You’ve probably skipped over it a hundred times late at night when seeking relief from insomnia. Or you might have watched it for the same reason. If you’ve watched the movie it sticks with you like the aroma of freshly lit incense.
Locked into your memory.
The Book of Eli is such a movie. Believe me it wasn’t even in my top 1000 until that absolutely stunning sucker punch of a conclusion. This movie has substance. And then some. You don’t even feel the punch, it’s those spinning seconds afterward when you’re asking yourself “what just happened?” And you’re still not sure. The last thing you remember is the ‘light bulb moment’ when the avalanche of previous scenes all came crashing together and overwhelmed your senses.
This movie is not for those with a hair trigger gag reflex. Or a gag reflex period. It’s gory, suggestive and offensive. Eli is a full on, no holds barred, assault on the human condition and it makes no bones about it. It will make you uncomfortable. And at the end-of-the-day that’s exactly what they were trying to do. This is one of those movies like 8mm that you continue to watch even after your brain has told you it’s a bad idea. You go to a NASCAR race to see the car wrecks right? You know it’s wrong but you’re strangely attracted. When it actually happens it’s anti-climatic because you already knew it was going to happen. The only surprise is the level of wicked.
And that’s what separates the men from the boys; the great movies from the pretenders. You knew this was a train wreck waiting to happen so when it almost casually pulled into the well appointed station you’re as surprised as any human could be. But if you hadn’t taken the journey, the station would have seemed pedestrian.
I had not seen or read anything much about the movie before noticing it on the shelf at Blockbuster. It stuck out because it was one of the few available in BluRay and I’ve always liked the acting of Denzel Washington, and he didn’t disappoint here. It’s a cross between Dune and The Matrix. The Book of Eli is a movie that greatly rewards those that allow themselves to become immersed and is at its most engaging the first time you see it.
“I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It’s just that the translations have gone wrong” ~ John Lennon