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Film / The Book of Eli

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"I walk by faith, not by sight."

"Both thorn and thistles it should bring forth, for us. For out of the ground we were taken for the dust we are, and to the dust we shall return."
Eli, paraphrasing Gen. 3:18-20 just before kicking the shit out of everybody

A 2010 post-apocalyptic Action Thriller film directed by the Hughes Brothers, starring Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, and Mila Kunis. Think a live action adaptation of Fist of the North Star with a Race Lifted Kenshiro, or Fallout with Christianity instead of The American Dream.

In the not-too-distant future, some 30 years after the final war, a solitary man walks across the wasteland that was once America. A warrior not by choice but necessity, Eli seeks only peace but, if challenged, will cut his attackers down before they realize their fatal mistake. It's not his life he guards so fiercely but his hope for the future; a hope that he has carried and protected for 30 years and is determined to realize. Driven by this commitment and guided by his belief in something greater than himself, Eli does what he must to survive—and continue. Eli must keep moving to fulfill his destiny and bring help to a ravaged humanity. Only one other man in this ruined world understands the power Eli holds, and is determined to make it his own: Carnegie.

This film provides examples of:

  • Above the Influence: Eli, for obvious reasons, refuses Solara's... solicitations. When she tells him that he needs to use her, lest her mother be beaten, Eli allows her to stay and report that she was... used. He might have had a slight interest in Solara's mother, Claudia. She too is blind, which obviously moves him, and he pays her a compliment about her shampoo — Eli never pays compliments to anyone.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Eli takes a man's hand off early in the movie in one swipe.
  • After the End: The film takes place some thirty years after an obvious nuclear war. A number of people who were alive at the time of "The Flash" still suffer burns, scars, and blindness from the event.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Redridge grabs Solara's arm as she's about to drive off after crashing, only to reveal that he was impaled by Eli's blade that was set on the dash. He then pulls out the blade and steps out of the car, taking his shades off and kneeling until his last breath. Carnegie is actually crying in response to it. It's even sadder if you consider the implication of Redridge's interest in Solara.
  • All Men Are Perverts: It is not a good idea to wander alone in post-apocalyptic America if you're a woman.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Natch, given what the book is; Eli quotes from it. Also subverted when Eli is trying to explain the concept of faith to Solara with the metaphor "flower of light in a field of darkness". She asks if he got that from the book, and he admits that it's a quote from Johnny Cash.
  • Author Tract:
    • You'd think the movie would be one of these, but oddly enough it isn't. Although Denzel Washington helped spearhead production because of his devout Christianity, the film never descends to "Bible good, other people/religions evil", or stops the plot so Eli can preach to everybody. Aside from the rather implausible "Eli's Bible is the only one left" plotpoint, Christianity itself is not presented as the perfect savior of humanity, in fact the bad guy specifically wants the book because he's aware how the Bible has been used to prop up evil regimes throughout history, and wants to take advantage of it for that reason. And the whole "hero is on a mission from God" thing is used less as a justification for pushing Christian ideology and more to set up scenes where Eli kicks copious amounts of ass without apparent injury.
    • Interestingly, the original script for the movie was incredibly blunt with Biblical references; Eli was already revealing half of the plot of the movie while praying over his first on-screen meal, and quoting "the man he works for" while killing the hijackers.
    • When Lombardi places the completed Bible in Alcatraz' library, it shares the shelf with a Hebrew Tanakh and Talmud, and a Koran.
  • Badass Boast: "Put that hand on me again, you won't get it back." More like a simple fact than a boast: he makes good on his word seconds later.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Eli is a reserved, polite man who doesn't talk much. However, he's more than capable of ripping through anyone that stands in his way.
  • Blank Book: The book in question is written in Braille but makes for an equally surprising revelation.
  • Born Afterthe End: Solara and even some of Carnegie's men who are years older than her fit this perfectly. A humorous example of this being when Carnegie tells one of his thugs to check behind a TV only to be answered with 'The what?' and a blank look.
  • But Now I Must Go: Solara, despite being offered a place in Alcatraz, chooses to head back east with Eli's equipment, to live up to her hero.
  • Bullet Time: Used with an arrow in the beginning, but the rest of the movie only uses regular slowmo.
  • Cannibal Clan: These kinds of people are common to the inhabitants of the world of The Book of Eli. People are able to tell that they are cannibals due to a quivering in their hands (from a condition similar to kuru, a disease spread only through cannibalism).
  • Can't You Read the Sign?: Eli doesn't notice the "no trespassing" sign.
    Eli: Sorry, I didn't see it.
  • Chainsaw Good: The chainsaw wielder gets a few good swings against Eli (hitting only air, but impressive for a bulky weapon), but still gets the thing knocked out of his hands and stabbed to death.
  • Clean Cut: Multiple times such as the the hand in the first fight scene.
  • Cool Shades: Practically everyone wears sunglasses or shaded goggles due to increased UV rapidly causing blindness, but some of the sets of glasses really stand out — particularly as Sinister Shades.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Demonstrated by Eli on a few occasions. His run-in with the highjackers on the road as well as the confrontation with most of the patrons at the Orpheum after he kills the Bandit Mook leader, Martz, are notable examples.
  • Cradling Your Kill: Eli does this as he mercy kills the leader of the highway robbers, whom he maimed moments earlier.
  • Crapsack World: "The Flash" did this to humanity. In its wake is nothing but ruins and UV blindness.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Eli, Solara, two old people, in a wood house, versus a huge-ass artillery piece. That'll go over well.
  • Decoy Damsel: The trap early on. Eli doesn't fall for it. The woman tries it again on Solara, but when she sees Solara is a woman, she tries to warn her away because she knows the gang will force themselves on her, and they would have if not for Eli's intervention.
  • Desert Punk: Most of the action takes place in the desert, later revealed to be the devastated California Central Valley.
    • The movie is only specific about San Francisco, but anyone familiar with central and northern California can make some pretty good educated guesses on the setting. The opening scene with the cat in the burnt forest would be somewhere in the Sierra Nevada mountains. From there, Eli heads west into the Central Valley, which is much flatter and heavily farmed, thus pretty barren After the End. There's a lot more major roads and freeways down there, which fits the area in question. The architecture of Carnegie's town (mostly older brick masonry and lath&plaster-type stuff, with some newer construction) is quite common around there, but less so in the major cities like Stockton, Sacramento, Modesto, or Fresno. The derelict nuclear power plant where Eli and Solara hole up for the night is about 45 minutes southeast of the Sacramento city limit. George and Martha's house is likely on the outskirts of either Sacramento or Modesto. Assuming that Solara drove west at roughly 45 miles per hour, that fits with the implied time it took them to reach San Francisco. The only real Head Scratcher is the collapsed freeway interchange where Eli witnesses the raider attack, but that could easily be chalked up to Hollywood Geography for Rule of Drama.
  • Died Standing Up: Redridge dies kneeling.
  • Disappeared Dad: Solara tells Eli that Carnegie isn't her father, leaving her real one unknown and unmentioned. There's a fan theory on who is at this link here - [1]
  • The Dog Bites Back: The woman Carnegie has been abusing for years can read braille but she doesn't want to. Instead she takes the time to rub in his face how much his obsession has cost him.
  • Exact Words: Eli often speaks in ways that sound figurative, but he means them literally, i.e "I walk by faith, not by sight."
  • The Extremist Was Right: Say what you will about Carnegie, but he carved out order from the desolate, inhumane wastes.
  • Evil Plan: Carnegie searches for The Bible so he can use it to expand his "kingdom" with 'good news' rather than mooks with guns.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • There's hints that Eli was blind before you actually know for sure.
      • When he stops Solara from taking the book, telling her that "You'd probably have no idea how to read it anyway." This could mean that either she's illiterate, or that Eli guessed that she wouldn't have known how to read Braille.
      • Eli smells the bandits from thirty feet away. This makes sense, since his sense of smell would likely have been heightened due to his lack of vision. He then goes on to kill the bandits in a very dark tunnel that presents little visibility but it makes everything sound much louder. Also, Eli asks the woman who was with the bandits he just killed where their water is. Turns out it's plainly visible in the cart next to her, but he can't see it. There's also the "No Trespassing" sign that Eli didn't see, the fact that Solara had to point out to Eli that the old couple's hands were trembling, and the fact that Eli mentions his senses of hearing and smell but never sight. Also, the fact he wears black sun glasses all the time is sort of a dead giveaway (but not as obvious thanks to the much harsher ultraviolet rays).
      • His line "I walk by faith, not by sight."
      • A clever scene was the shootout in front of the bar. If you pay attention, you'll notice he's listening to the gunshots first then using that information to one-shot the bad guys one by one..
      • Another subtle event that most only realize in hindsight, the bar fight which makes the villain take notice of our hero is caused when the previously mentioned rapist takes offense at Eli shooing the bar's cat away when getting his drink; he couldn't hear the cat prowl across the bar table and his hand knocked into it when he reached for his drink.
      • He also bumps into things gently a few times, such as the dresser in the shack near the start, and later his feet on the stairs leading up to the strange house and when he reaches the top step, he holds his gun in front of him. He knows there will be a door there, but doesn't know exactly where until he bumps into it with the barrel of the gun.
      • He seemingly ignores the gold chain on the dead body in exchange for a pair of boots. Obviously, he doesn't see it but he finds the boots once he feels around for them.
      • When he flips open the Zippo lighter to trade to the shopkeeper, he holds his hand over the flame to check that it's working.
      • He doesn't react in any way to the skeleton in the abandoned car either, even though the skull is just inches from his face. Even in a post-apocalyptic world full of desiccated corpses, you'd expect a sighted man to at least glance at such a thing.
      • Earlier in the film the morning after the cat meal. He left his iPod on all night so its battery's next to empty. You see him pressing the play and stop button thinking it might work. You could look at it as an act of frustration, but the truth is he couldn't see the low battery signal flash.
      • In the opening scene, was Eli clicking his tongue to get the cat's attention, or was he using echolocation to see where it was?
      • The shopkeeper identifies Eli's iPod and the latter replies with a simple 'is it?' This can easily be missed as Eli not knowing the differences between iPods but his lack of sight would make it harder to identify.
    • Carnegie is reading up on Mussolini near the beginning. Obviously, they're both dictators in one way or another but it also points to Carnegie's fate which mirrors Mussolini's fall at the hands of his own people.
  • Freudian Excuse: Carnegie's views on faith and the book's power stems from his pre-war childhood with his redneck parents.
  • Gasoline Lasts Forever: It's been thirty years since a nuclear war that wiped out civilization, yet vehicles are still running on gasoline from before the apocalypse.
  • Gatling Good: An antique hand-cranked model, even. Mounted to a modern van.
  • Ghost City: San Francisco is a ghost town. And practically reduced to a pile of rubble, to boot.
  • God Is Good: Eli manages to survive 30 years in his present condition and is unstoppable and untouchable until his destiny is complete and his disciple carries on in his stead. Plus, every person who opposes Eli ends up dead within a matter of days.
  • The Hero Dies: In the epilogue, but Eli himself phrases it as God "letting me sleep".
  • Hidden Elf Village: Alcatraz in the ending, which appears to be self-sufficient, has functional infrastructure, and its own professional security. All of which are a cut above Carnegie's now-fallen "kingdom."
  • Humiliation Conga: Carnegie first finds out that Eli's Bible is locked, then once he gets the town handyman to pick the lock, he finds the Bible is in braille. After getting over this, he gets Solara's mom (who is blind) to read it, but she laughs him off and notes that he'll die from gangrene soon. Then he gets to crawl out and see his bar get torn to pieces, with his men doing nothing. The topper has to be his last man, surveying the destruction around him, and wisely pulling up a chair and doing nothing, while staring at his boss.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: People eating other people is apparently fairly common, but still looked down upon.
  • Imperial Storm Trooper Marksmanship Academy: Justified because their target is God's protectorate. They're also Raiders whose only experience has been shooting up the occasional unarmed wastelander, and are not trained marksmen.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Eli has about thirty years worth of practice surviving the dangers of traveling alone in a post-apocalyptic world but considering that he's blind the trope counts. Not to mention that a guy with perfect vision would be relying on a lot of luck to get some of those long-distance shots with a 30+ year old semiautomatic handgun, single-handed. It's implied he might benefit from some Divine Intervention.
  • Karmic Death: While this world has become a crapsack, lots of people die from bad karma catching up to them.
  • Kevlard: During the fight with the bandits out in the desert, the fat guy with the chainsaw is able to stand up to several slashes across the stomach before Eli finally kills him.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Carnegie likes abusing Solara's mother.
    • Redridge shoots a random mook because Eli escaped his room and he happened to be the guard that night.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: At the end, when when Carnegie realizes too late that his men are now too few to oppress the town, he shambles out to see them looting the bar. One of his remaining goons surveys the scene, then calmly grabs a chair rather than fight a hopeless battle.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The raider who shoots a random wastelander and rapes another is beaten to death, Carnegie dies from a festering shotgun wound while watching his "kingdom" fall apart, and Eli, failing to fight the rapist gang on the road, has to fight them at the bar later, which brings him to the attention of Carnegie. Justified when you remember who's supposed to be running the show.
  • Left for Dead: Eli is left to die in the desert, but his gut shot wound proved less severe than expected. Or did God intervene?
  • Locked Room Mystery: How did Eli escape from custody?
  • Lost Common Knowledge: It's frequently brought up that kids born since the nuclear war are almost guaranteed to be illiterate, and people under the age of 30 are seen to marvel at things we would consider trivial. But the best example has to be when Carnegie orders one of his thugs to "check behind the TV," only to get a confused "Huh?" from the mook who is several years too young to have ever watched one. Carnegie roars an incredulous "YOU'RE FUCKIN' SHITTIN' ME!" when he realizes this trope is in effect.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Carnegie; his Evil Plan is all about manipulating the weak and the desperate with holy words. He manipulates everybody, including his inner circle, which makes it kind of awesome when Redridge decides to force him to bargain for his cooperation.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Is Eli supernaturally protected or just really really lucky? We don't know!
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Eli is aptly named.
      • Eli was one of the Hebrew names for God.
      • It's also a shortened version of Elijah, a prophet of the Old Testament who brought Judaism back to Samaria and drove out believers in the pagan God Baal.
      • Eli is the name of one of the Judges in the Bible. He was blind by the time he died.
      • It also means "my lord is God".
    • Solara follows Eli from east to west and, at the end, claims that she'll return home. What else rises in the east, sets in the west, and reappears in the east once again?
    • Carnegie was a noted philanthropist and was responsible for founding many libraries during his lifetime... and would like to keep the poor in their place (he honestly thought it'd do them good, whereas this Carnegie...)
  • Meaningless Villain Victory: Yay, I've got the book... oh it's in Braille and I'm dying of gangrene. Oops!
  • Miles to Go Before I Sleep: Eli seems happy to just curl up and die once he's fulfilled his mission.
  • Milky White Eyes: Averted with Claudia, who was born blind. Played straight with Eli, as part of The Reveal.
  • Mook Chivalry: Averted; in the bar fight scene Eli is clearly taking on up to three people at once, if not in the exact same instant.
  • More than Mind Control: Carnegie wants the Bible for this reason. As it is, he needs to use force to keep the people in line. He believes having a higher power to believe in (and, more importantly, work for), will allow him to control them much easier. He also doesn't have the manpower to expand, which wouldn't be a problem if he had the Bible.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: A tandem one for Eli and Solara, though they couldn't have known better. Eli recites a typical prayer of thanks while Solara is his guest, and Solara mimics it the next morning at breakfast with Carnegie, which clues him in to Eli's possession of a Bible.
  • No Bikes in the Apocalypse: Played straight. Sure, Eli may not have use for a bike, but no one else ever uses them either.
  • Off with His Head!: Said bar fight in the post below results in Eli lopping off the heads of 3 enemies in rapid succession.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Averted.
    • Carnegie gets winged in the leg by a stray bullet during a firefight and immediately collapses, screaming in pain. He spends the rest of the movie using a crutch to get around, which is still obviously quite painful. By the end, his wound has become gangrenous and he only has days to live — assuming the rioters don't get him first.
    • Eli gets shot in the gut. He then patches himself up and continues on, hurting a little but otherwise seemingly perfectly able to live. Given the badassitude and possible divine protection exhibited so far you'd expect him to go about it like every other action character and eventually forget he was wounded at all. Turns out he knows he's on borrowed time and, once he finds a civilised outpost, spends his last few days reciting the Bible by memory to a scribe - then succumbs to the wound and dies, in peace at last.
  • Only One Name: Everyone. How many families still exist? The comic back-story gives Carnegie's name as Billy.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Michael Gambon doesn't sound particularly American. Ray Stevenson doesn't, either, but combined with the way that he keeps his voice low throughout the movie (and the fact that he's Ray motherfucking Stevenson!!), it actually works to make his character more badass and intimidating.
  • Pet the Dog: At first it seems like Redridge only wants Solara for one thing, but he does show some genuine concern for her well-being later in the movie.
  • Platonic Prostitution: Solara is given to Eli to use as he wishes, and she tells him she'll be punished if he sends her away. So they eat together and chat about the Bible.
  • Plot Hole: The Bible in Braille is actually seventeen volumes, so he's going to so much trouble to protect a tiny fraction of the real Bible.
  • Post Apocalyptic Gasmask: The film takes place some thirty years after an obvious nuclear war. We see the hero wear a gas mask in the opening scene in a contaminated forest where dust falls from the sky.
  • Post-Apocalyptic Traffic Jam: The opening scene features the protagonist walking down a highway jammed with long-abandoned vehicles, thereby establishing the post-apocalyptic setting .
  • Product Placement: Motorola, GMC, Ray-Ban, KFC, Kmart, iPod, "Beats by Dr. Dre" earphones, Busch, Oakley (Eli's bag, not the shades). The town even has the remains of a JC Crew store if you look closely.
  • Profound by Pop Song: When trying to explain the concept of faith to Solara, who was Born After the End, Eli resorts to quoting lyrics.
    Eli: It doesn't have to make sense. It's faith. It's faith. It's the...flower of light in the field of darkness that's giving me the strength to carry on. You understand?
    Solara: Is that from your book?
    Eli: No, it's uh, Johnny Cash. Live at Folsom Prison.
  • The Purge: All Bibles were burned after the war, and Eli mentions that people considered the possibility of religion being what started it in the first place.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: By the time he gets his hands on the Bible, Carnegie has an infected leg and has lost so many of his men that he couldn't keep control of the town, even if the Bible wasn't written in Braille.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Just about everything up until the Alcatraz enclave looks considerably worn out and battered after 30 years. Even the ones having some (makeshift) maintenance work about as well as you'd expect.
  • Real Is Brown: The colors are bleached to give a bleak, desolate, post-apocalyptic scenery. Makes sense considering what's affected the environment — damaged ozone and resultant harsh sunlight, lack of rain, dust blowing everywhere, radiation, pollutants... The green grass as Eli and Solara reach the Pacific Ocean is striking in comparison.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Eli reads The Bible every single day. Before one of the most awesome melee battles in film history, he hands out that "dust to dust" quote, which makes the fight itself at least twice as badass. Also notable is that he can recite the entire King James Bible from memory. Which of course turned out to be the whole point of the movie — that and that it's not the destination.
    • Denzel Washington himself is a devout Christian, and was a driving force behind this movie being made.
  • Redemption Equals Death: A bizarre case: Carnegie's Dragon obviously has feelings for Solara, seen when Carnegie threatens to kill her to get the Bible. When she manages to overturn the car she's in on the ride home, he's impaled by Eli's machete (he had taken it with him) and very easily could have used it to kill her. Instead, he spares her and dies outside.
  • Red Right Hand: Cannibals develop several distinctive tics, including shaking hands. A common way to prove oneself trustworthy is to show you don't have them.
  • Refuge in the West: The titular character is heading west in an After the End setting for a place he's been told to take a very special book, the last known copy of The Holy Bible. After numerous setbacks, his copy of the book is taken from him by a warlord who sees it as a valuable tool, but the book was written in Braille and he couldn't use it, while Eli had committed the whole book to memory. Eli finds the place he's looking for in San Francisco, specifically Alcatraz Island, whereupon he recites the entirety of the Bible to the people there in order to have it recreated for the world at the printing presses secured on the island.
  • Religious Bruiser: Eli's a very religious man, and is capable of laying the smackdown on entire crowds at once.
  • The Reveal: The Bible Eli had on him was written in braille all along, because Eli himself is blind.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: When Carnegie is overthrown, the people breaking up the room are shown looting the place and forcing themselves upon the women.
  • Rewatch Bonus: All the hints towards Eli's blindness.
  • Riding into the Sunset: The last shot of Solara walking off into the sunset.
  • Robbing the Dead: One of the first things we see Eli do when scavenging is discover a man who's hanged himself, and promptly divest the guy of his nice leather boots.
  • Sacred Hospitality: Eli and Solara come across an old couple who are cannibals and have killed many other people (and may have been planning to do the same to them). But, when Carnegie shows up with his men and demands that Eli send Solara out with his Bible, they grab their guns and fight to protect these people they just met.
  • Scavenger World: Everything's done via bartering — even a few alcohol wipes and a zippo are precious.
  • Scenery Gorn: Standard fare for After the End, though the major landmarks are fairly well off.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: For Carnegie; he spends the entire movie hunting Eli to steal the bible. Carnegie feels that with the bible, he can use it to maintain his iron-grip on the town. At the climax of the film, he finally does get the book, but at the sacrifice of his dragon, only to learn the book is in braille. Then he learns that after putting so much effort into his manhunt, the townspeople have finally turned against him and started looting his "kingdom."
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Carnegie puts Eli up for the night, the poster on the wall is for A Boy and His Dog, another post-apocalyptic movie set in a desert. A thug aiming down from a rooftop can also be seen using a modified Springfield rifle that was used by the main character in that movie.
    • The two cannibals are named George and Martha.
    • Redridge likes to whistle the main theme from Once Upon a Time in America.
    • Eli recites the book he's memorized so that others can write it down, an act discussed in Ray Bradbury's work, Fahrenheit 451.
  • Shown Their Work:
  • Silence Is Golden: The first 10 minutes of the movie are completely free of dialogue.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Carnegie has lofty ambitions but nowhere near enough manpower or resources to expand beyond the town he lords over. Which is why he desperately seeks out the Bible, believing he'd be able to make up for those shortcomings through the 'good news.'
  • Somebody Set Up Us the Bomb: When Carnegie and his crew pull up to George and Martha's house and demand they send out Solara with The Book, a window on the second floor opens, and what appears to be a book wrapped in cloth is thrown out. Redridge picks it up, unwraps it, and opens it with barely enough time to fling it under one of the cars when he realizes what it actually is.
  • Something Else Also Rises: Just as someone is about to rape Solara, something else goes right through his pants. No, not like that. More like this.
  • Standard Post-Apocalyptic Setting: What little we see of the world is a washed-out pale desert where the survivors of an event called "the Flash" (presumably a thermonuclear war) need goggles to see outdoors. Civilization is reduced to small towns run on barter trade, and hijackers roam the highways preying on travelers.
  • Stolen MacGuffin Reveal:
    • Early on, Eli pretends to give up the book, only for it to turn out to be a Book Safe containing a live grenade.
    • At the end, we see Eli telling the librarian that he has the book, intercut with a scene of Carnegie attempting to break into the one he's been given. Subverted when we find out that Carnegie has the real book, but can't read it, whereas Eli knows the whole thing by heart.
  • Take Over the World: Carnegie wants to expand his empire using the doctrine of Christianity to coerce people into following him.
    Carnegie: It's happened before.
  • Take That!: Among the pile of books and magazines brought before Carnegie (and subsequently burned) is a copy of The Da Vinci Code.
  • Take Up My Sword: When Solara leaves Alcatraz to return home, she carries Eli's machete (and his iPod).
  • These Hands Have Killed: Eli is really good at killing people, but feels guilty about it.
  • Throwaway Guns: Averted when Eli runs out of .45ACP ammunition for his HK 45 pistol and sets his gun down on a car before drawing his shotgun — but retrieves it before he leaves. It's very common for people to carry guns despite ammunition being rare because you can find bullets at some point later. Even if there is slim to none chance they will match your gun it's much better than having bullets and no gun to fire them.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Before the apocalypse, Eli was a simple clerk at a local K-Mart.
    • Solara is The Load throughout most of the movie, but then engineers a rather impressive escape when Carnegie's mooks capture her. She becomes Eli Jr. by taking his equipment after his death and heading east.
  • Trailers Always Lie: The trailers painted it as more of a generic action movie, instead of the more cerebral film that it is.
  • Truth in Television: The symptoms that the cannibals showed. Kuru, a prion disease caused by cannibalism, is characterized by truncal ataxia, headaches, joint pains, and, most importantly, shaking of the limbs. Until the 1950's when cannibalism was outlawed in New Guinea, members of the South Fore often contracted it by eating their dead. (It had an incidence that was 8 times higher in women than in men because the men would get the better cuts and women were left with the brains and spinal cords).
  • Twist Ending: Eli's been blind all along and he has memorized the Bible. It's in Braille, and Carnegie's abused mistress refuses to read it to him.
  • Unspecified Apocalypse: Nobody ever provides more specific information about "The Flash" than hints of it being a nuclear war, and that the anarchy that followed had people destroying Bibles because they believed that somehow religion was to blame.
  • We Have Reserves: Averted. After Eli shoots his way out of the town, Redridge is able to bargain with Carnegie for Solara because Eli killed enough men that Carnegie can't afford to lose Redridge. By the end of the film, Carnegie realizes too late that he lost so many men trying to get the book, his remaining men aren't enough to keep the town oppressed.
  • Willing Suspension of Disbelief:
    • The titular book of Eli, a Braille Bible, purportedly containing the entire KJV text, would take up much more physical space than one volume. More like 18, and those are for ENORMOUS-sized books (roughly three full sets of Encyclopaedia Britannicas). Regular-sized volumes would number around 36 but perhaps it's another miracle.
    • Believing that all the Bibles would have been burned. The thin veneer of an explanation about 'maybe that's what started the war in the first place'? There's a lot of them in the world, considering it's been the #1 bestselling book since the invention of the printing press. It'd easier to believe that they just think it's the last one, or that it's simply the last one in that immediate area. The end of the movie reveals that Eli's was definitely not the last Bible, since, when Malcolm McDowell places a newly printed copy of the King James Bible on the shelf, there is a very visible Artscroll Tanakh, i.e., the complete text of the Hebrew Bible in the original Hebrew with an English translation, sitting only two books to the left of it. Granted, the Tanakh would not contain the New Testament, so it is possible that Eli's copy is the last-existing copy of the Christian Gospels, but it was clearly not the last Bible.
    • That a monk could transcribe an entire Bible in a short amount of time. Before the printing press was invented it would take a few years to transcribe a single Bible. Even if one removes the stuff to make the book fancy (writing it with elaborate letters, drawing miniatures and covering every single page with hand-made adornments) and writing it in Latin (your second language) it would still take weeks to transcribe the whole thing.
  • Worthy Opponent: Redridge seems to consider Eli one, since he lets him go after witnessing Eli slaughter a bunch of Mooks with his Improbable Aiming Skills. He also appears rather shocked when Carnegie shoots and fatally wounds Eli.
  • You Are Already Dead: Eli is accosted by Martz at the Orpheum, who claims that Eli raised a hand at his cat. Eli slams Martz's head against the bar, speaks quietly in his ear, then helps Martz straighten up. Martz stands there for a moment, dazed, then hits the floor like a sack of potatoes. It is unclear whether Eli meant for this to happen, as he had to have known the rest of the Bandit Mook gang was in the bar with Martz.
    Eli: (to Martz) I'm gonna grab my things, and walk out of here. OK?
    Martz: (swaying) Yeah...(falls to floor)
  • You Have Failed Me: One of the guards is executed for letting Eli escape from custody.
  • Your Days Are Numbered: Carnegie spends the better part of the movie slowly wasting away from a gunshot wound taken from an earlier battle, though he lives just long enough to see his little "kingdom" fall apart. Eventually, this tropes extends to Eli, but not before "delivering" the Bible to Alcatraz.


Video Example(s):


The Book of Eli

A very intense bar fight where Eli quotes a verse from the bible before slaughtering everyone.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / AsTheGoodBookSays

Media sources: