Last week, we were blessed with Hollywood's latest post-apocalyptic offering --The Book of Eli. A short and pulpy plot stretched into an almost 2-hour-long dramatic feature, the Hughes Brothers' film is bipolar at best. Long and dusty scenes fail to evoke the same bleakness that The Road offers, and they are an awkward inclusion to a snarky story about a man who can slice things up quicker and easier than the ladies of Kill Bill as desperate sickos sneer and cannibals enjoy tea parties. Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman put only partial effort into their performances, and it all leads to jarring final moments that seem more Resident Evil than The Road.
But the one aspect that melds perfectly with the like-minded cinema that comes before it is that women are doomed in a post-apocalyptic world. The Book of Eli embraces this notion with fervor, using every opportunity it can to portray women as bait, whores, and victims of grisly rape. The only solace for this future is having a male partner who can share in the fighting and defense. With a man, there's some slim chance of survival. Without? Women are doomed.
It's a theme well-worn in the genre, but it's time we moved beyond it.