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Book Of Eli, The (2010) Print E-mail
Friday, 11 June 2010
ImageI'm just going to come right out and say it.  "The Book Of Eli" is the best movie I have seen come out in years.  I am trying to figure out whether it was really that good of a movie or whether I have just been bombarded with tons of junk.  It is so hard to distinguish.  I would have to say that despite the plethora of subpar films of recent years "The Book of Eli" still holds its own as a good film.  It is not going to become a classic, but let me put it this way.  This is the first film that I actually considered watching again.

The film unique in that it doesn't lay it all out there in the open.  It makes you pay attention.  You try to guess what is going on, but not in the sense that the filmmakers were too lazy to cover backstory.  All will become clear in the end, but the journey is quite fun.  While I won't spoil the ending, I must say that this is the first film that actually fooled me.  I had no idea that the film would end up where it did.  And that speaks a lot about the film.  Finally I don't have to say that a film is predictable, because it most certainly is not.

The film opens in a strange manner that makes you second-guess your decision to watch this film.  But once you move past the first few minutes you start to get drawn into the story, always waiting for the next piece of the puzzle to present itself.  But it doesn't take long before you are drawn deep into the film.

Denzel Washington stars as a drifter in a time that is undisclosed in detail.  We do know that it the time after "the event."  Characters constantly refer to what it was like before.  Before what?  We don't know exactly.  We can take guesses at it, but all is really irrelevant, though most watching will think that the film is about "the event."  Perhaps this is one nicely written distraction.

Washington is journeying west.  The road is froth with dangerous people and dangerous places.  Nothing will deter him.  He is set on heading west.  When he arrives in what seems like a shantytown, he runs into trouble that he isn't looking for, all because of a mysterious book (well, it isn't that mysterious).  You should be able to pick up quite fast on what the book actually is.  Nevertheless, this is a story about religion, passion and destiny.  Truly a great piece of work.
"The Book Of Eli" has a truly magnificent picture, which is rare to see accompanying a great film.  Finally.  The black levels are fully resolved leaving splendid details in the shadows.  The image is purposefully dingy so don't expect this to be a vibrantly colorful film.  The image is saturated with oranges and yellows.  This creates an atmosphere that further draws you into the film locations.  Fleshtones are accurate, again for the style of the film.  The most impressive aspect of the video transfer is the level of details and textures.  It is beyond easy to count every coarse beard strand on Washington's face.  Dust, dirt, rocks all have lifelike textures.  Simply incredible.  However, I do have to dock the video a half a point for a instance or two of slight banding in the image.  However, this really isn't distracting given the caliber of the film.

As if having a terrific film with stellar video transfer isn't enough, tack on the best aspect of the disc – the audio quality.  This DTS-HD MA 5.1 can't be improved.  It is perfect all around.  Literally.  Every channel has a purpose and delivers it well.  One of the central themes in the film is heightened senses, and that is something that the sound designers used to their advantage.  The detail and texture of each foley effect is without a doubt crisp and clean.  When a glass bottle rolls across the floor, it is much crisper than you have ever heard.  Ambience is at the perfect level to completely envelope the listener.  Dialogue is clean and intelligible.  The LFE channel is full and delightful, delivering a supple bottom end.  The dynamic range is expansive but never overwhelming.  The surround channels are used in each and every moment.  Whether it is reverb or discreet effects, the surround channels provide envelopment and immersion.  This is a tremendous audio track.

The film, audio and video quality are outstanding, but unfortunately the special features fall a bit short of the caliber of the rest of the disc.  Lucky for me the special features of a disc rank about as high on my priority least as mowing the lawn.  Anyway, the Blu-ray does have Warner's Maximum Movie Mode.  This picture in picture track provides lots of snippets from cast and crew, storyboards and behind the scenes footage.  A section of Focus Points contains the same materials.  "Starting Over" examines what we might have to do to rebuild society after a catastrophe.  "Eli's Journey" examines the origins of the film and the thematic elements.  Perhaps my favorite featurette is "The Book of Eli Soundtrack" which goes beyond the scenes with composer Atticus Ross.  The Blu-ray also contains additional scenes and a graphic novel short.  A Digital Copy/DVD Copy combo disc is also included.

"The Book of Eli" is a near perfect film with near perfect video quality and absolute perfect sound quality.  Highly highly recommended folks.

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