First Hit: This film was well made, well executed and very well acted.
The world has almost come to an end. Thirty years earlier, a flash of light was all anyone saw before it killed most of the people in the US (we assume the rest of the world as well). There are a few people who lived through the flash and they are now the elders.
Because it destroyed most everyone and everything, there are no schools, water is the most valuable commodity, and people are surviving anyway they can. Theft and brute force go along way towards obtaining what people want. There are few towns and one is controlled by Carnegie (played by Gary Oldman).
Oldman sends his henchmen out to find and collect all books. In particular he is looking for a specific book. This book, he believes, will give him the words to rule others, just like before the flash. The problem is that all copies of this book were either buried or burned.
Eli (played by Denzel Washington) possesses this book and is on a mission to deliver it out west. Voices told him he would know where to go and that he would be protected on his journey. Eli travels alone and wins all battles against the thieves and killers who want his water, food or book.
Eli happens into the town ruled by Carnegie who learns that Eli has the book he wants. Carnegie offers Eli everything to turn over the book and Eli responds that he knows when and whom to turn the book over to and Carnegie isn’t it.
The remaining part of the film is about Eli’s struggle to deliver the book to the intended audience.
Washington is perfect in this part. He is wise and smart enough to stay out of trouble while being agile and physically strong enough to handle the thugs who don't heed his warning. Washington’s intelligence and ability to keep the tone of the film from falling into scenes of good guy versus bad guy fights is faultless. Oldman as Carnegie is a stroke of brilliant casting. He commands presence during his scenes and keeps his role believable. As leader of the town, he is cognizant that leadership is always on a razors edge and he knows it, that’s why he wants the book. Albert and Allen Hughes directed this film with a wonderful touch. The scenes are not overly produced and complicated; they are direct without a lot of waste. The landscape represents just enough destruction and emptiness to provide the right backdrop to the world as it might be after we attempt to blow ourselves up.
Overall: This is an effectively done story and is definitely worth a watch.