The Book of Eli, the post-apocalyptic drama by the Hughes brothers, takes place in a world that was demolished by humans during a third world war. In this war, there was a great “flash” that killed humans, animals, and plant life to leave the world almost completely destroyed. After this flash, Eli, played by Denzel Washington, heard a voice inside of him that led him to a King James Bible, which he was to take West until he found a place that needed it more than him. 30 years later he was still walking, and rumors of the existence of the “book” spread to the mini-towns that had developed, where it was wanted by the leaders of the towns to rule over their citizens.
Many who have seen this movie have disliked it for many reasons, but mostly because they feel it is very preachy about religion. If viewers do not take a step back to look at the bigger picture it is very possible they will hate it. However, The Book of Eli is a much deeper movie about faith and the loss of humanity, not just about religion.
Throughout Eli’s journey West, he encounters numerous people who murder, rape, steal, and pillage without thinking twice about the consequences of their actions. The loss of civilized order led to a loss of humanity. Eli’s hope is that when he reaches the West his book will be used to turn society around, give them faith in something so that the chaos subsides. Eli knows that the book is the answer, but the book is a symbol of humanity and faith, not of religion.