By Oliver Jones Isley Kasica Rennie Dyball
January 25, 2010 12:00 PM

The Book of Eli

Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis, Gary Oldman | R |



Before the opening credits to this postapocalyptic redemption fable finish, Washington has already shot and killed a hairless cat that will serve as that night’s supper with his bow and arrow. By the time this bleak film has wrapped, he has treated countless highwaymen, cannibals and other foul-smelling baddies no less lethally, all the while on some sort of divine mission that is—what else?—the Last Hope for Humanity. It’s all quite heavy-handed and slow-moving—at times you feel like you’ve seen every step of Eli’s 30-year journey west. Kunis helps lighten the load a bit as stepdaughter to Oldman’s over-the-top desert despot, and the story is made moderately more interesting by a late plot twist. But in the end it’s Washington, with his scorched voice and world-weary lope, that serves as the lone reason to go on this ponderous journey. His Eli is as convincing as the rest of the film is not.