Book of Eli Social Commentary

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“Book of Eli” Paper

The film The Book of Eli directed by the Hughes brothers is a cinematic display of dystopian genius. Many dystopian films critique government involvement, privacy issues, and ethical concerns. However in The Book of Eli, the Hughes brothers take a jump to a different part of modern society: religion. Numerous religions are practiced in society as they are protected under the first amendment. The written word can be interpreted many different ways whether it is for good or evil and this film does a great job outlining the interpretations. The Book of Eli is a dystopian symbol for how organized religion is abused in modern society. Religion as a whole is seen throughout the film. Eli, the main character, believes that his purpose on Earth is to bring the Bible out West and to protect it. He is a religious man, regularly reading and praying from the book. He is devout and puts the books’ protection before other ethical issues. In the film, Eli encounters a woman being gang-raped. He proceeds to say” follow the path, follow the path.” He continues moving because his only mission is to get the Bible to the West. Eli believes that God put him on Earth to carry the book to the West, so he will do anything to get it there. The beginning of the film outlines Eli as having the inclination of protecting the book, yet he doesn’t quite understand the message of compassion found within the words. In this same way, we see religious zealots who “believe” in their religion so strongly that they sometimes ignore those that have less than them. Eli could've helped the woman being raped but instead continued with his journey, not straying in the least. These days, people go to church to hear preachers talk of compassion and loving forgiveness but once Mass is over, sure enough there is always a fight in the parking lot when everyone is trying to leave in a hurry. For many, these scriptures go in one ear and out the other and only certain passages are held on...
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