Overall a terrible movie. Incrediblely inconsistent and illogical. Iif the God of the Universe had set apart one man to presumablely re-save humankind then that Grand Plan was really anti-climatic when it becomes just another book on the shelf. Also, thirty years is a long time. Nothing would be left, not automatic weapons, cool shades, and eyebrow tweezers. .....and yet Charles Burnett can not get a film made.
I'll give it an extra half star for some good cinematography and for having Tom Waits in a small role. Otherwise, it's pretty thin. Clearly the Hughes Brothers weren't really interested in exploring the ideas that they bring up. Instead, they settle for a pastiche of westerns and comic book films. To bad, there could have been a good movie here, the premise had lots of potential.
Occasionally ham-handed, though certainly not as ignorant and maudlin as it could have been. Narrative faults notwithstanding, "Eli" is a film of well-realized characters, brilliant editing and cruel landscapes -- one of the most unusual mainstream films there's been in some time. The Hughes Brothers have an incredibly troubled oeuvre, but here their passion and enthusiasm finally bears fruit. A compelling vision.