The Book of Eli Ending Explained & Film Analysis

Was the hero of the “Book of Eli” (2009) blind and other mysteries of the film. The essence and meaning of the film, plot, content, similar films

Genre: Fantasy, Action, Drama

Year of production: 2009

Director: Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes

Actors: Denzel Washington, Gary Oldman, Mila Kunis

tagline: “Some are willing to kill to get it. He is ready to kill to protect her.”

Post-apocalyptic films are characterized by gloom and a rather harsh atmosphere. The picture of the Hughes brothers in this regard is no exception.

And yet the plot and meaning of the film “The Book of Eli” (The Book of Eli) is deeper than it seems at first glance. The picture not only tells about what awaits humanity in the future. She also says that there is always hope.

What is the movie about

Brief description of the content of the film “The Book of Eli”. After a terrible war, only scorched desert landscapes and ruins remained of the world.

Severe loner Eli, a professional military man, goes west and carries a certain book to a safe place indicated to him. He eats the meat of hairless cats, and has fun listening to music. Periodically, he meets groups of people who are trying to somehow live. Among them there are both ordinary people and bandits who hunt robbery on the roads.

Denzel WashingtonDenzel Washington as Eli. Frame from the film.

After destroying one of the gangs, Eli saves a blind girl who was used by the criminals as bait for the protagonist. The rescue was not conscious: Eli is not a noble sheriff and not a superhero. Periodically encountering evil, he tries not to interfere: all he is interested in is the mission entrusted to him.

Eli comes to a city run by Carnegie’s “efficient manager”. After meeting and talking with him, Eli finds out that he is looking for a certain book. The hero can do nothing to help him. He is about to move on, but comes into conflict with the locals, ending in a powerful fight. Having won, Eli quotes one of the apostolic Epistles and claims that the people themselves are to blame for everything that happened.

Seeing Eli in action, a delighted Carnegie invites him to work for himself. But he refuses: he needs to finish his mission.

Carnegie, realizing that the book (he needs as a powerful weapon with which he plans to gain a foothold in power) is in Eli’s possession, sends for him the attractive daughter of his blind cohabitant, Solara. However, the hero exposes her and moves on.

But the girl is not so simple. She catches up with Eli, and he, realizing that he cannot get rid of her, allows her to follow him. Toward the end of the film, Carnegie’s men catch up with them. They hurt Eli, take the book from him, and take Solara away.

On the way, the girl riots, escapes and returns to Eli, who, despite a serious injury, is still alive. Carnegie does not pursue them – after all, the coveted book is in his hands. This book is the Bible.

Eli is sure that despite the fact that he lost the book, he still needs to go west. Solara, somewhat surprised by his decision, nevertheless joins him.

Mila KunisMila Kunis played the role of Solara. Frame from the film.

Together they make it to Alcatraz and meet the locals. They do not just survive, but try to preserve the culture. Their library contains many world masterpieces – in particular, works by Shakespeare, recordings of music by Mozart and Wagner. They would like to have the Bible too, but they are not sure that even one copy of this Book survived after the nuclear apocalypse.

Eli asks to bring him paper and dictates the entire text of the sacred Book from memory.

Ending explanation

At the end of the picture, Carnegie opens the Bible stolen from Eli and realizes that he cannot read it – it is written in Braille (a special font intended for reading and writing by visually impaired and blind people). He turns to his blind girlfriend, but she says that she does not remember at all how to read such a text.

The Bible, written down from the words of the seriously wounded Eli, takes its place in the library. The hero’s mission is over. Realizing this, he dies and is buried on the island.

The explanation for the ending is pretty simple. So, Carnegie receives the Bible, for which he has been hunting for so long (he was hunting) and anticipates unlimited power. But when he opens the lock, he discovers that the great Book is completely unreadable.

The meaning of the ending of the film “The Book of Eli” is metaphorical: it is more likely that a blind man will read the Book than this scoundrel. Faith comes from hearing, and hearing comes from the word of God. Carnegie is blind and deaf, he is almost a sectarian, ready to use the great God-inspired Book for his dirty purposes. He wants power on earth, but the Bible is about something completely different …

Was the main character blind?

There are three versions. According to one of them, Eli is blind. In the film, he behaved like a blind man with heightened hearing and sense of smell. This version is supported by the fact that the film “The Book of Eli” is filled with deliberately loud sounds: falling leaves, the purring of a cat, the sound of fingers rubbing on wooden shelves. In addition, in one of the mise-en-scenes, Eli looks at the sun and his pupils are dilated.

According to another version, Eli is not blind. He just knew Braille. His eyes are mobile, and in blind people they always look at one point.

According to the third interpretation, Eli was blind, but received his sight due to his faith. After completing his mission, he again lost his sight.

The meaning of the film

To understand the essence of the film “The Book of Eli”, a complex story with hidden meaning, told in simple language, one must turn to the Old Testament.

In a post-apocalyptic world, there are people who survived a nuclear strike. The New Testament sermon has not yet sounded in this terrible world – humanity simply does not know about Christian love. And at the center of the plot of the film “The Book of Eli” is the Bible – the only one in the whole world …

In their analysis, viewers note that the plot is very metaphorical. Its meaning is in reflecting the state of modern society: Christianity is slowly losing ground, and society prefers to live according to Old Testament principles.

The main character Eli does not pay any attention to the problems of our time. Obsessed with an idea, he walks on scorched earth: he has a goal, a higher goal. Eli is not only a mystic, but also a great fighter. That is, theoretically, he is able to protect the weak and restore justice. But he doesn’t. Moreover, he kills everyone who gets in his way. Every time he witnesses something bad, he tells himself that it’s none of his business.

The point is that Eli is a prophet. He is similar to Elijah, who killed four hundred priests of Baal with his own hand, and to Elisha, at whose command two she-bears tore to pieces forty-two children who shouted to him “Go, bald!” A prophet is an instrument in the hands of God. This is exactly what – somewhat grotesquely – is shown in the movie “The Book of Eli”.

Eli the ProphetFrame from the film.

The protagonist heard a voice that gave him a task. His invulnerability is due to the fact that he clearly follows the instructions of this voice. However, fearing to turn off his path, Eli gradually moves away from understanding the essence of the great Book.

Toward the end, the hero is ready to give up the Bible in order to save Solara – despite the fact that she herself was ready to sacrifice her life to complete his mission. At this point, Eli loses his invulnerability and is mortally wounded.

It seems that he failed the mission, and God departed from him, left him without grace and protection. And at that moment, Eli realizes that this is how it should be – it was not he who should have delivered the Bible to the island, but the Bible should have delivered him there.

And so it happens. Alcatraz is the Promised Land, whose inhabitants suffer from the absence of the most important Book. And here comes a man who knows the Bible by heart. Mission accomplished, prophetic ministry completed.

You might think that the inhabitants of Alcatraz, who collect various books, will treat the Bible as another “world masterpiece”. However, it is not. The Bible is printed and placed on the shelf. The living Word of God remains in the world. The essence of the Book may be incomprehensible to people, but there is still hope that one day someone will appear who will read it and understand it.

Harry, Jennifer and MilaGary Oldman as Cargeny, Jennifer Beals as Claudia and Mila Kunis as Solara. Frame from the film.

Similar films

Here are a few films similar in meaning to The Book of Eli:

  • “Road” (USA, 2009). In the post-apocalyptic world live monstrous cannibals and ordinary people. Among them are a father and son trying to survive;
  • “I am a legend” (USA, 2007). Half of the globe was destroyed by an unknown virus. The other half turned into vampires. The protagonist is trying not only to survive, but also to learn about the cause of the tragedy;
  • “Water World” (USA, 1995). Another version of life on earth after the end of the world.

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