I am a sucker for post-apocalyptic films so I went to see The Book of Eli . (spoilers) About twenty minutes into this, maybe sooner, you begin to think “This can’t really be the premise for this movie. No, no, no. There’s got to be something more.” But there ain’t! and it doesn’t get any more nuanced, interesting or intelligent. It’s ridiculous and unconvincing and comes off like Fahrenheit 451 for the Fox News crowd. Mila Kunis, bless her, is more much convincing in That 70s Show where her valley intonations work. At least Susan George would have had a nude scene. Gary Oldman is a pock-marked dictator of a tiny town, which thrives in its own way because it has a reliable water source. At least he’s recovered from The Unborn . In case you don’t get it, the Hughes Brothers introduce him reading a copy of a biography of Mussolini. And there’s a twist, which I won’t ruin, but I will say that it is again unearned and ridiculous. Unfortunately, as post-apocalyptic fantasies go, this one lacks the zing of any of the Road Warrior movies or even any of the juicy pulpiness of those Charlton Heston 70s B-movies The Omega Man and Soylent Green . There is a single witty moment involving Anita Ward’s “Ring My Bell.” Amen.
In its first 10 minutes (after a brief, somewhat pointless prologue), the Spierig brothers’ Daybreakers revels in a dizzying, dialogue-free rush of world-building — here we are maybe 10 years from now in a night-time late-capitalist gloom, all bluish lighting and rainy reflective streets, shadows and fedoras. A plague of vampirism turned things on their heads, humans are hunted, and the world is on the brink of fiscal and social collapse as the blood supply (ahem) thins out. I thought this was gonna be brilliant.