Resurrected Living
"What are you going to do with your new resurrected life? This is the heroic question." Richard Rohr

The Book of Eli

I was not quite sure what to expect when I went to see The Book of Eli this weekend.  I knew it was a post-apocalyptic action movie starring Denzel Washington and directed by the Hughes brothers, but other than that I did not know what the movie held in store for me.  I was greatly surprised by what I saw.  The Book of Eli is not just another one of the many post-apocalyptic movies in the tradition of Mad Max.  It is a movie with a message, and a Christian message at that.

Denzel Washington is a practicing Christian (See the recent article Christianity Today did on Washington here), who chooses movies with a message.  With some of his movies the message may not be apparent immediately, but by the end of The Book of Eli you will have received some important lessons.  The movie is about a man named Eli who is traveling afoot, in America, several years after a nuclear war has destroyed most of the planet.  The world is now a violent place where people will do almost anything to survive.  Eli sticks to himself and tries to stay out of trouble.  As the movie progresses we learn that Eli has an important mission.  He has the last Bible on the planet and he is going west looking for a city that can use it.  While on this journey he encounters a man named Carnegie (played by Gary Oldman) who has been searching for the Bible for many years.  He is aware of it’s powers and he wants to use it to manipulate people.  Trust me I am not giving too much away.  The movie has an incredible ending.  Make sure you do not let anyone tell you how it ends.

There are several messages in this movie, but I cannot discuss them all without giving away the ending.  One theme that is apparent fairly early in the film is that of good vs. evil.  We see this theme in most stories and films, but in this one religion is at the center.  Eli, the good guy, has the Bible and he wants to do good with it.  Carnegie, the bad guy, wants the Bible so he can do evil with it.  Evil people will use and manipulate good things in order to bring about evil.  Everyday people use religion and the Bible for personal gain.  It does not matter to them that it is wrong to do so.  Religion and Scripture are powerful tools, and great things can be done with them if they are handled aright.

I suspect that The Book of Eli will become immensely popular, especially among people of faith, after the message of the film gets out.  It will be viewed several times by some and people will discuss the themes of the movie.  It is a movie which relies on it’s story, unlike many other action movies which rely heavily on special effects.  The movie is rated R and does contain strong violence, language, and some adult themes.  Just because people are talking about this movie having a Christian message does not mean it is family friendly.  I highly recommend The Book of Eli.

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