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The Book of Eli: Whatever happened to the Hughes brothers?

Riley Riley

I’ve just got one question after watching The Book of Eli.

Whatever happened to the Hughes brothers who directed this post-apocalyptic masterpiece? 

The twin brothers brought us some absolute corkers, including a graphic retelling of Jack the Ripper in the form of From Hell with Johnny Depp.

However, The Book of Eli was the last film they made together.

Starring Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman and Mila Kunis, the film is set 30 years into the future in the wake of a nuclear war which has laid waste to the planet.

Survivors, if they venture outside, need to wear protection for their eyes because the ozone layer has been destroyed and they will be blinded otherwise.

The landscape is a dry, barren and forbidding place, where the strong prey on the weaker members of society and supplements a lack of food.

Into this nightmare strolls the quietly spoken Eli (Denzel Washington), a loner on a mission to deliver a “special” book he has in his keeping to the west coast of the United States.

The book we later learn is the Bible.

Eli just wants to be left alone, to get on with the job and doesn’t tolerate interference.

After entering town Eli seeks the help of the Engineer (Tom Waits), the owner of a store that buys and repairs things.

Eli needs to recharge his ageing Walkman audio player.

While waiting, he is attacked by a gang of bikers, but quickly dispatches them in a bar room fight.

Impressed by his prowess, town kingpin Carnegie (Gary Oldman) invites Eli to come and work for him, but he declines.

Not one to take no for an answer Carnegie forces him to stay the night, locking him in a room under guard.

His blind squeeze Claudia (Jennifer Beals) brings him food and water, and Carnegie sends her daughter Solara (Mila Kunis) to seduce him, in a bid to get him to change his mind.

But Eli is adamant.

He does however offer to share his food with Solara, but before eating he insists they say grace.

Carnegie later overhears Solara repeating the prayer to her mother and realises that the book Eli has in his possession, the book he has been looking high and low for, is the Bible.

And not just any Bible, but probably the last remaining intact Bible on the face of the Earth.

That’s because all the books were burned after the war and those that remain are prized, especially by Carnegie.

Books contain knowledge and knowledge is power, he explains.

Carnegie tries to take the book by force.

Big mistake.

Although he doesn’t say much, Eli is a force to be reckoned with, an expert in hand to hand combat, and proficient with many weapons, including a razor sharp sword.

Eli leaves town with Solara in tow, but Carnegie and his henchmen give chase.

What follows is a sparse, bitter violent series of confrontations, in a film that has been expertly crafted.

I can’t believe I have somehow overlooked this film. I’ve always liked Denzel Washington and have been impressed with Mila Kunis in recent times.

What a shame the Hughes brother haven’t made anything together since.

Believe it or not, the brothers began making movies at the tender age of 12, but their formal film education began in their freshman year of high school when Allen took a TV production class.

They soon made a short film entitled How To Be A Burglar and people began to take notice.

Their next work, Uncensored videos, was broadcast on cable and introduced them to a wider audience.

After high school Albert began taking classes at LACC Film School.

Two shorts established their reputation as innovative filmmakers and tey went on to direct Menace II Society (1993), which grossed 10 times its $3 million budget.

They followed up with Dead Presidents (1995) and directed the feature-length documentary American Pimp (1999).

Denzel Washington who stars as Eli needs little introduction.

The actor and director has starred in plenty of blockbusters including Out of Time (2003)Man on Fire (2004)Inside Man (2006), and The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009)

Actor Tom Hanks described working with Washington on Philadelphia (1993) like “going to film school”.

Hanks said he learned more about acting by watching Denzel than anyone else.

For The Book of Eli  Washington studied martial arts under Bruce Lee‘s protege Dan Inosanto and performed all of his own stunts in the hand-to-hand fight sequences.

Although known mostly for her role as Jackie Burkhart on That ’70s Show (1998), Mila Kunis has shown that she’s got plenty to offer.

Interestingly, since 1999, she has voiced Meg Griffin in the animated sitcom Family Guy (1999).

Her breakthrough film was Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), in which she played a free-spirited character named Rachel Jansen.

For much of his career, Gary Oldman has been best best-known for playing over-the-top bad guys, such as terrorist Egor Korshunov in the 1997 blockbuster Air Force One (1997), although he found new audiences with heroic roles in the Harry Potter and Dark Knight franchises.

You can catch The Book of Eli on Stan.


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Time out score

Final thoughts . . .

Denzel Washington is always a pleasure to watch.


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