The Hughes Brothers also gave me a chance to see another wonderful performance by Denzel Washington. Interestingly enough, it was the ending of the film that sealed it. What was otherwise an (as always) earnest measured performance became a very careful honest subtle interpretation. I went back to the beginning and started watching scenes, listening to lines, watching the big fight scene (and realising how the inspiration for it also made sense) and admiring just how honest everybody had been to me. The quote from Johnny Cash (Live at Folsom Prison) which had elicited a mild chuckle now seemed to mean even more. I found myself adding more meaning to the way scenes had played out.
I also found myself thinking about the ideas that the film had explored, even though I was not too convinced that the film had handled them well. The film could not resist the temptation to remain, despite its ambition, something better for the average viewer than the mindless action flick. There was more restraint, but there were also the familiar lapses that irked (the gun with infinite ammunition, for example). Although I would still pick The Road for being a more compassionate, subtle, complex exploration of the human condition in a post-apocalyptic world, I enjoyed The Book of Eli for being so much better than I had expected it to be.