A Book; The Truth.

Warning: This is a graphic film, and just like the graphic war passages in Exodus, I’m not going to sugar coat it. Parental discretion is advised.

The Book of Eli

The Book of Eli: "I walk by faith, not by sight."

Well, I’m usually the type that reads all the reviews and makes sure that I know what I’m in for before watching a movie. Really, can you blame me with all the Hollycrap that’s out there? But The Book of Eli was one movie I didn’t do that.

After seeing the trailer, I wanted to be surprised. So, I entered the theater not knowing anything beyond the trailer about this movie. How wrong can you go with Denzel Washington?

After this two hour movie, I have three letters for you: W-O-W. Just plain wow.

It is an awe-inspiring movie with great cinematography, intense action, an amazing message, gripping story, and just all around stun power! Go see it.

The Book of Eli is a post-apocalyptic story about a mysterious lone traveler (Eli) who is on a mission to save the savage human race. His mission comes straight from heaven. According to Eli, “I walk by faith, not by sight.”

All the bad stuff.

Now that I’ve told you how much I loved this move, let me tell you all the bad stuff in it. In short, it’s not family movie. It’s got an R for a reason. Probably not for anyone under 18.

If you want specifics, PluggedIn (from Focus on the Family) has a great review that lays out all the brutal violence.

But (without ruining anything) bullets not only fly, we see them blow holes in people. Not only does Denzel fight to defend himself; he lobs off heads and appendages. Blood is all over the place, and cars explodes in a show of fireworks. Carcasses, of both machine and humans, litter this radioactive wasteland.

It’s thirty years after all the governments blew each other up and the atmosphere with it. As can be expected, anarchy prevails. We hear about (but don’t see) cannibalism as human is one of the few meats left. Woman are raped (off camera, thankfully), and cusses are flung each direction.

While this is show, none of it is condoned, which is why I think the movie has the same redeeming value as the warfare of the Judges or the conquest of Canaan in Exodus.

Now, if you haven’t seen the movie, and this doesn’t scare you off, then stop reading this review and go see it. Please, bELIeve me, you want to be surprised by the twists in this amazing plot.

If you have already seen it…

There are some amazing themes woven through this film. Perhaps the deepest and one deserving of most attention:

1) The Word of God vs. The Book of God. Carnegie (yes, that’s the bad guy’s name) thinks the book can be used as a weapon to control those who can’t think for themselves. It has power.The only reason Carnegie values the Bible is because it’s the big Book. Eli knows this, too. But he has a different perspective.

A Book or the Truth?

A Book or the Truth? from: ba1969, stock.xchng

Eli is no Indian Jones. He doesn’t protect this book as an artifact. It has power not because it’s a big book, but because it’s the Truth. When Eli finally looses it, hope is not lost, because he doesn’t need the book; he already has the Word in his heart. (literally, the whole thing memorized)

What I left the theater, I had one big question: was Eli blind all along? Had he been miraculously healed so that he could complete this specific mission? Or had he simply learned braille… maybe because a family member was blind? Maybe the coloring using in the movie actually reflected that he was color blind? I’m not sure, but regardless, there’s still this lesson:

2) In Eli’s weakness, He is strong. Eli could see things that no one else could. Great lesson: God doesn’t just gives you challenges just so you can overcome them, but also so that you can use them.

We find out at the end that Eli is one of the few people that can actually use his Bible.

Two of the greatest lessons come straight from Eli’s mouth:

3) Priorities. “I’ve concentrated so much on protecting the book, I forgot to live by what I learned from it.” Too often we get so caught up in our mission, whether it be going to church or ministering in a foreign counter. The greatest commandment is to love the Lord with everything and then, as Eli puts it, put others before yourself. If we complete the mission, and don’t have love, we are nothing. (1 Cor 13)

4) Thankfulness. Eli’s companion, Solara, asks what the old world was like, before humans decided to blast each other to pieces and destroy the atmosphere. “People had more than they needed.” He says, “we threw away things people kill each other for now.”

It’s just been 30 years since the World’s climate completely changed. At one point, Eli needs to pay to get his gadgets charged. He pays with KFC Towelettes.

That was one of the big impressions my Dad got from the movie. A peak into our future helped me realize just how much I take for granted.

5) Finally… Memorization. Psalms tells us that David, the great warrior of the Bible, the Word to heart.

Psalm 119:11 (ESV)

“I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”

Not to spoil it for you, (which is why I told you not to read this if you haven’t seen the movie) but Eli looses the book. He never lost the Word, though. Eli had memorized the entire thing over his 30 years of wandering, and writes the entire thing down. The copy he had, it turns out, was written in braille.

This was quite a challenge to me. If I all of my possessions were suddenly wiped out in some kind of Armageddon, would I still have the most important thing? Is God’s word still inside of me, and to what lengths would I go to protect it?

The Final Word

And my final word is… awesome.

This story is a jaw-dropping combination of King David, Fahrenheit 451, and the Matrix. I absolutely loved it. A sentimental action movie with a plot that keeps you on your toes and, while brutal, was realistic. And a great discussion starter on top of that…

That said, I want to let you have the final word. Seen the movie and have other things to add? Is there anyone that you maybe didn’t appreciate? Let me know with a comment!



4 Responses

  1. I discovered your homepage by coincidence.
    Very interesting posts and well written.
    I will put your site on my blogroll.

  2. I really want to see this movie(when I am grown) It looks really cool. πŸ™‚

  3. Good review Brian! I saw the movie and absolutely LOVED it!! The things you said were very true. Good job!

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