“The Book of Eli” with Denzel Washington

Without wanting to give away too much about the new film, “The Book of Eli,” Denzel Washington plays a kind of Jedi-Christian who is carrying out an assignment he believes he’s received from God, thirty-something years after a nuclear holocaust destroyed civilization. It’s sort of like Luke Skywalker meets Mad Max and the Thunderdome. That said, I actually really liked this film. (But I hated all the Mad Max films. Especially that Tina Turner song.)

What I particularly found so interesting is that I’ve never seen a Hollywood film that had the message that The Book of Eli has. Especially one played by such a notable actor as Denzel Washington. And I really enjoyed watching him in this film. I’ve heard that Denzel Washington is a Christian. Seeing him in this film makes me believe that’s true (update: Scott Johnson sent me a link to a Christianity Today interview with Denzel Washington where he clearly professes his Christian faith: here).
I don’t know, but it may be significant that the name “Eli” is Hebrew for “my God.” So, perhaps one way to read the title of this film is “The Book of My God.”

Let me say that to me there are obviously some plot holes and inconsistencies in this story that cannot be filled by reasonable thought. And it has many of the so-called “post-apocalypticstereotypical scenes (i.e., motorcycle bandits coming upon a young, innocent, and weary couple who kill the man and ravage and rape the woman), but if you can get past some of these imperfections and just go with the story, there are some very interesting things about The Book of Eli.
There is no nudity or sex scenes, but there is some graphic violence. So I think it’s a great film to take a teenage son to, or perhaps a teenage daughter may even like it, and then grab a drink or meal afterward and talk about some of the images and truths that the film depicted.
Here are some questions to consider after seeing the film:
1. What did you like or admire about Eli? His character? His faith? His abilities?
2. Is there a spiritual metaphor in Eli’s power to fight evil?
3. Was there an honest, vulnerable reality or moment about Eli that sticks out to you? (Perhaps when he said, “We can get so caught up in protecting God’s Word that we sometimes forget to live by it.”)
4. What was Solara’s reaction to Eli’s prayer? What touched her about it? Did it touch you? What can we learn from his prayer?
5. Was there anything else that struck you as interesting in this film? Any other metaphors or scenes that depicted or illustrated a biblical truth in some way?

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