Before I get into my argument I just want to say, that post apocalyptic fiction is amongst my favourite genres. I've seen a lot of these movies, some of them were great, the others not so much. I'm not considering The Book of Eli the best post apocalyptic movie of all time, but it has raised an interesting question: Was he blind or wasn't he? There are a bunch of forums discussing the matter, many people consider him blind and many don't. My opinion is that he was actually blind. The first time I'd seen the movie, obviously I didn't realise this until the very end, when Carnegie, played by Gary Oldman, opened the book and realised it had been written in Braille. Denzel Washington plays his role very well, not spoiling the ending by making it too obvious. And that was the whole point of the movie. To make the audience believe that Eli was just a regular guy (shooting and chopping up dozens of men, all by himself) and shock them at the end revealing that he was blind all along. I've watched the movie again this weekend and there were a lot of hints here and there, which were easy to spot, if you knew what to look for. I've even made some screen shots to prove my “theory”. I apologise for the images being too dark, I even tried to mess with the brightness a bit, but it's a dark movie so deal with it.
The proofAt the beginning of the movie, Eli is walking on a road and finds a car. The car has a skeleton in it and he thinks he might find some boots on it. Instead of just looking at the skeleton's feet, he feels them with his hands.
You might ask me how did I know what Eli was looking for? Well here's the answer: He walks in a building and he finds a guy, who probably hanged himself, in some sort of a closet. He actually smells him and then he opens the closet's door. Again instead of just looking at the guy he puts his hand on him, and then he moves his hands all the way down to his feet. When he feels the boots on the dead guy's feet he starts smiling. If he could see why the hell would he be touching a dead guy?
Did I mention he has heightened senses? When he is about to be attacked on the road, he sniffs out his attackers and says: “The only good thing about no soap… is that you can smell hijackers a mile off.”
There is a scene when he is in some kind of a pawn shop and he offers to trade a Zippo lighter. He lights it and he puts his hand above the flame to feel whether it is lit or not. Too bad I don't have a screen shot of this scene.
During the gun fight on the street, he only shoots those, who have previously shot on him. Because he doesn't see them, duh! Like this guy on the roof.
One guy remains standing, he aims his gun at Eli's head, Eli just stands in the middle of the street looking all dumb and then he turns around and walks away. Why didn't Eli just shoot the guy, if that guy was pointing a gun at him? Well because Eli didn't see crap.
On the road, Solara, Mila Kunis ask Eli “How do you know you're walking in the right direction? ”, Then Eli replies: “I walk by faith, not by sight”. As in he is blind like a bat. Heightened senses again. He suddenly hears something, that Solara doesn't. “Did you hear that? ” and he shoots a bird from the sky with his bow.
They reach a house in the middle of nowhere and before walking up the stairs he kicks in the first step, to realise where it was. He then sticks his shotgun in front of him and he bumps it in the door.
When the old man at the house tells him: “No trespassing. Didn't you read the sign?”, Eli says: “We're very sorry, I didn't see it.”
Before reaching San Francisco Eli says: “Do you smell that? ”, Solara asks: “What? ” then Eli replies “In the air. Salt. We're getting close to the ocean.” Another case of heightened senses.
The most revealing thing was of course the book itself.
So there you have it. I think I've gathered enough evidence to convince you that Eli was indeed blind. I don't want to get into the religious roots of the movie, but if you're still not convinced, Eli the biblical character was also blind. So what more proof do you need?
Guess that's a no, on needing those sunglasses.