Hollywood’s ‘The Book of Eli’ casts Bible, Christian character as central

The Bible plays a starring role in “The Book of Eli,” a post-apocalyptic action film starring Denzel Washington that opens in theaters Jan. 15. Washington, a two-time Academy Award winner widely known in Hollywood for his Christian beliefs, portrays a lone warrior making his way across a desolate American landscape defending the world’s last remaining copy of the King James Version of holy writ.

“This is a story about a man named Eli, who’s been sent a message, who hears voices from God that told him to take this book, the Bible, across the country and to deliver it out West,” Washington says in a movie trailer posted on ScreenVue.com, which provides movie clips for churches and ministries to use in their teachings.

Though in the vein of recent films like “2012,” a blockbuster about the end of the world as predicted by the Mayan calendar, evangelical movie buffs are touting “The Book of Eli” as a rare major studio release where the protagonist is unabashedly a Christian.

“How far are we willing to go in response to God’s call?” Craig Detweiler, director of Pepperdine University’s Center for Entertainment, Media and Culture, writes in a study guide written for Christian viewers of the film. “What kind of sacrifices would we make to defend the Word of God?”
The movie, which has Washington’s character facing down villains trying to stop him, earned an “R” rating for graphic violence and coarse language.

“In following his mission he’s been given by God, he becomes more and more violent in order to get the job done,” Washington explains in the trailer. “This man, Eli, has a very difficult task, but he has faith. And he makes mistakes, as we all do. Someone said there’s no testimony without a test.”

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