Written by Old Bluffer 3rd Feb 2010
[You need to read the previous write-up in order for this one to make any sense...]
...now, it is abundantly obvious that Carnegie is not going to be happy with his prize, so the only question is how will he get his comeuppance? The book is locked, to prolong the mystery, and we were wondering if all the pages were blank (and Eli only pretended to read it for comfort) or if there was an empty compartment (in a Shawshank Redemption style) that used to contain a miniature bible etc. The actual truth is both more interesting and more ridiculous though. When he finally gets the book opened, it is revealed to be a braille edition, allowing Carnegie's abused woman (who is blind) to gain revenge on her oppressor by refusing to help him read it.
She points out that he's already dying from the gangrene in his leg, and because Eli has killed all his guards, his life expectancy is not looking good. Sure enough, in the ensuing leadership struggle Carnegie is unceremoniously ripped apart by the small remaining mob of thugs.
So he never even got a chance to read so much as "In the beginning..."!
Old Bluffer's Thoughts
This was a reasonably entertaining film, mainly because Denzel Washington is such a talented actor and always likeable no matter what role he plays. What let the film down were the cheesy action sequences, that seemed to have been gratuitously added purely to lend some excitement. As noted in the previous write-up, these lacked any kind of drama due to Eli being such an omnipotent fighter. It's not often we say it, but the film would have benefited from less action and more quiet time. For example, the scene where Eli barters with a suspicious shop keeper to get his battery repaired was memorably charming and nuanced - and all without a single machete decaptitation!
That there was an overwhelming pro-religion agenda to the film also didn't detract too much, despite this being one of our pet hates. The reason is that it is done so heavy-handedly that it actually just made us giggle. It's actually strongly pro-Christian, but in a hilarious attempt to claim that it's faith-neutral, the shelf where Eli's transcribed bible is eventually placed in Alcatraz, contains literally every book of faith the film makers could hurriedly gather together. We spotted the Quaran and almost certainly various jewish and mormon texts. If we ever get the DVD we'll pause it to see if there's any L Ron Hubbard there too.
So what was the other twist, and why was the braille book ridiculous?
Well, the strong implication is that Eli has been blind for the duration of the film, and God has been guiding him. This is one of those ideas that probably seemed clever in a "Sixth Sense" way at the time, but in practise is just silly. There is absolutely no way the audience could reasonably have any inkling that he can't see, so any comparisons with the twist in the Sixth Sense are doomed to failure. OK, you can work backwards and say there were a few clues, like him discussing blindness with Solara's mother - but this neglects the fact that he shot an eagle out of the sky with a bow and arrow, and killed about a hundred enemies with machete or gun!
So, you're left with the only possible conclusion - namely that God helped him to do this, which is always going to be divisive - much like religion itself in fact!
However, the above is just nit-picking if I'm going to be honest. The really silly and implausible thing about The Book of Eli is the suggestion that an old iPod could still be recharged so far into the future. I had two of those pieces of crap, and know for a fact that they stop charging approximately thirteen months after you buy them, due to Apple's patented "break after warranty" technology.