‘The Book of Eli’

The Book of Eli (2010) is a weird mishmash, a kind of waterless Waterworld for the Twenty First Century. I don’t want to be disparaging because I did enjoy watching this film. It ticks a lot of boxes, post-apocalyptic (tick), the lone hero (tick) wandering through a desert landscape (tick) with tones of Mad Max (tick), quiet but powerful hero (tick)… but what really struck me is the film’s visual look and its colourisation. The images have been digitally desaturated and treated in a heavily stylised way by upping the contrast. While it’s not as harsh an effect as Sin City it’s still quite oppressive. I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing. Snow Falling on Cedars (1999) also played around with a high contrast effect (deep blacks and impenetrable shadows) a kind of classic Kodachrome look. I wonder if this film would have been better if it had looked more ‘natural’… or if it would have made the whole thing feel too ordinary?