Screen Shot: ‘Book of Eli’ starring Denzel Washington

This bleak, violent, post-apocalyptic picture is involving up until the point you realize it’s just another example of religious propagandizing. Starring Denzel Washington as a mysterious stranger who walks alone and comes upon a town ruled by a dictatorial Gary Oldman (fabulously chewing it up like an older version of his drug-addicted bad cop in The Professional), the grizzled solitary man carries a Bible, speaks in riddles, and winds up dressed as a Moslem in a progressively dull movie. The Book of Eli borrows nihilism from The Road Warrior and Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Westerns with Clint Eastwood, a cheap trick from The Sixth Sense, and preachy religion from any of a variety of recent Christian pics. Also featuring Jennifer Beals (Flashdance) in the film’s best performance as a blind woman and a young actress named Mila Kunis as a nubile type. Its theme that religion will save the world is pure hokum. Despite fine turns by leads Washington and Oldman, this book sermonizes more of the same.

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