Since I didn’t include The Book of Eli in my list of dystopian movies, I now would like to bring your attention to this fine example of the dystopian sub-genre released in 2010, directed by the Hughes brothers and written by Gary Whitta.
The Book of Eli takes place in the US, thirty years after a nuclear catastrophe. Eli (Denzel Washington) travels the roads alone, going west. He encounters road bandits on his way but a far greater menace awaits him in the face of Carnegie (Gary Oldman) who runs a local town. Carnegie is convinced that a certain book will give him an unquestionable power over people. Eli happens to be carrying that very book as Carnegie later finds out. He and his henchmen begin the pursuit of Eli and the book.
Gary Oldman is as convincing as ever, Denzel Washington has a quiet intensity about him that commands the attention of the viewer, and Jennifer Beals and Mila Kunis both deliver strong performances as mother and daughter.
I found the color palette in this movie very interesting. The picture mostly had a green tint to it, which was especially effective in the opening scene, creating an eerie and uneasy atmosphere. Grey colors dominate, as if to emphasize the degradation of the post-apocalyptic world. The vast and empty landscapes with destroyed bridges and cars left behind don’t disappoint. The monochromatic look and the usage of dark silhouettes (as in the first fight scene, between Eli and the bandits) make the picture especially similar to comics, which works great with the overall feel of the movie. Music by Atticus Ross is spot on with the emotions it conveys and is distinctive enough to stand on its own. The fight scenes are plenty and impressive, with Eli showing almost inhuman speed, yet still remaining believable.
A simple but very true theme is at the center of The Book of Eli: right words can hold a great power over people, a power that Carnegie so desperately wants to obtain through one single book. He calls it “a weapon aimed right at the hearts and minds of the weak and the desperate.” Such topic, while executed in a simple way, still brings the movie a certain depth and humanity.