'The Book of Eli' Critic Reviews

83%
MovieWeb:   29 reviews
48%
Rotten Tomatoes:   194 reviews
  • Owen Gleiberman Entertainment Weekly (Top Critic)
    17
    A ponderous dystopian bummer that might be described as The Road Warrior without car chases, or The Road without humanity.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Manohla Dargis New York Times (Top Critic)
    60
    Allen and Albert Hughes have created a plausible post-apocalyptic world.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Andrew Pulver Guardian [UK] (Top Critic)
    40
    Despite the impressively atmospheric opening sequences the Hugheses allow their film to lurch into inspirational-literature territory - and it ends up dissipating the brooding, cryptic atmosphere of its opening scenes.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Claudia Puig USA Today (Top Critic)
    50
    Poetic psalms uttered amid stylized violence are disconcerting. Religion and bloodshed, though linked through much of history, make queasy entertainment partners.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Michael O'Sullivan Washington Post (Top Critic)
    63
    A hyper-violent, post-apocalyptic Western in the mold of Mad Max that can't make up its mind whether it wants to be corny or misanthropic.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Ty Burr Boston Globe (Top Critic)
    50
    The Book of Eli is The Road with twice the plot, four times the ammunition, and half the brains; it'll probably make 10 times the money.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Nick Pinkerton Village Voice (Top Critic)
    The rest of the rote splatter-violence has Denzel whirlwind lopping off heads through philistine hordes, sequences only good for insight into what PS3 games the Hugheses were playing in pre-production.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Joe Neumaier New York Daily News (Top Critic)
    50
    You'd want a guy like Denzel around when the end is nigh. Too bad The Book of Eli is so preachy it buries the subtlety he brings forth.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal (Top Critic)
    While the religious content makes itself felt, sometimes strongly, the heavy action quotient -- the story of Eli the slasher -- tears feelings to tatters.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Tom Maurstad Dallas Morning News (Top Critic)
    70
    What strength and intensity the movie musters begins and ends with Washington.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Lisa Kennedy Denver Post (Top Critic)
    88
    A stylish, gritty fantasy feature that wrestles with the agonies, joys and eternal wrinkles of faith and evil and the dangerous minuet they do.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • James Rocchi MSN Movies (Top Critic)
    50
    Your brain, and, yes, your soul, long for ... a film that walked either the straight and narrow path of righteousness or blazed some new trail instead of frustratingly sticking with such faith and fervor to the middle of the road.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times (Top Critic)
    75
    I'm at a loss for words, so let me say these right away: The Book of Eli is very watchable. You won't be sorry you went.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune (Top Critic)
    75
    Shot on nimble, lightweight Red digital cameras, the film may traffic in familiar landscapes and archetypes, but it allows its cast the space and time to make the characters breathe.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Cliff Doerksen Chicago Reader (Top Critic)
    The sepia-toned palette gets a little wearying, but the dialogue is hilarious, the violence is crunchy, and cameos by Tom Waits and topflight Brit character actor Michael Gambon are worth the ticket price alone.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer (Top Critic)
    75
    Washington, ever potent, brings to the role the full force of his thousand-mile stare and regenerative smile.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Colin Covert Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top Critic)
    38
    Travolta had his Battlefield Earth, Costner had his Waterworld and now Denzel Washington has his truly awful sci-fi epic, The Book of Eli.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Bill Goodykoontz Arizona Republic (Top Critic)
    70
    Truly, if one must wander a barren, post-apocalyptic landscape with somebody, who better to wander with than Denzel Washington?
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Rex Reed New York Observer (Top Critic)
    Even after the action leads to a final series of revelations that render everything else preposterous, you will still feel the adrenaline. Boredom is not an option.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Todd McCarthy Variety (Top Critic)
    Iconically effective as a single-minded messenger with a mission, Washington's Eli is ultimately too confined by the man-of-few-words movie norms he's saddled with.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Lou Lumenick New York Post (Top Critic)
    63
    The filmmakers have an unusually persuasive star in Washington, who can sell lines like, "We had more than we needed" and "I walk by faith, not by sight."
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Roger Moore Orlando Sentinel (Top Critic)
    50
    It's obvious what the book is and the resolution to this quest tale is silly beyond belief. Denzel just plays it quiet, tough and cool, as if that alone will carry the film.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Peter Howell Toronto Star (Top Critic)
    50
    A movie weighed down by a numbskull screenplay (by rookie Gary Whitta) and a careless lack of attention to details.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Laremy Legel Film.com (Top Critic)
    75
    The Hughes brothers' film feels more vibrant than the bleak Road, which was launched at us in November. Here the brothers show us the horror but somehow the staid and calm Denzel feels more approachable than the distraught and scrambling Viggo.
    Full Review » 3 years ago
  • Jonathan F. Richards Film.com (Top Critic)
    75
    t's a post-apocalyptic western, it's an evangelical tract, it's a road movie, it's a martial arts movie, it's a disaster movie, it's a graphic novel. It's equal parts The Road and The Robe, A Fistful of Dollars and Fist of Fury. It's Mad Max meets Left Be
    Full Review » 4 years ago