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Equilibrium

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At the end of World War III, the world fell under the control of Father and the Tetragrammaton: a government that outlaws all forms of art and emotion. Citizens are forced to take drugs that eliminate emotions. However, Sense Offenders: citizens who resist the laws and operate underground are continually at war with the Tetragrammaton. John Preston is a Cleric, an elite super-soldier whos mission is to hunt down and eliminate Sense Offenders with the help of a ruthless police force. One day, Preston accidentally breaks his morning dose of emotion suppressant drug and begins to feel. Soon, he begins sympathizing with the Sense Offenders and begins to understand the beauty of feeling... A beauty that the government, in which Preston spent his life serving, would like to see destroyed.

At the end of World War III, the world fell under the control of Father and the Tetragrammaton: a government that outlaws all forms of art and emotion. Citizens are forced to take drugs that eliminate emotions. However, Sense Offenders: citizens who resist the laws and operate underground are continually at war with the Tetragrammaton. John Preston is a Cleric, an elite super-soldier whos mission is to hunt down and eliminate Sense Offenders with the help of a ruthless police force. One day, Preston accidentally breaks his morning dose of emotion suppressant drug and begins to feel. Soon, he begins sympathizing with the Sense Offenders and begins to understand the beauty of feeling... A beauty that the government, in which Preston spent his life serving, would like to see destroyed.

Although I am late to the game in checking this out, I really found a lot to enjoy with Equilibrium. Taking place in a dark, dystopian and repressive future, Equilibrium as a sci fi action film checks a lot of boxes. The film looks great and was tightly directed. The cast is fantastic with some really great and talented British actors like Christian Bale, Sean Pertwee and Sean Bean. Equilibrium brings to mind classic dystopian science fiction like 1984 and Farenheit 451 and mixes it up with crazy Hong Kong/John Woo styled action scenes. Equilibrium does all of what it does really well and if you are a fan of science fiction or action, this flick will not disappoint. Equilibrium has both style and substance and as such is supercharged cerebral entertainment.

Imagine what it would be like if you took the stories 1984, Fahrenheit 451 and Brave New World and merged them with a whole lotta violence...the result would be Equilibrium. From 1984 it has the totalitarian government, the man who THINKS hes free and the notion of thought police. From Fahrenheit 451 you have firemen whose job it is to burn books. And, from Brave New World you have a society that is drugged in order to make them more manageable and emotionally stupid. Put them together with TONS of intense martial arts and gun violence, then you kind of have the idea.

Christian Bale is a cleric--a man very well-versed in martial arts and killing with guns, swords or his bare hands. His job is simple...enforce the rules of society that no one feels anything and are kept in a perpetual state of nothingness. This means destroying art, books and people....and we are talking about a LOT of people! Inexplicably, after being a top cleric and going his job perfectly, he misses a dose of the emotion-numbing medication and slowly he begins to question...something punishable by death if he is discovered. Whats go come of all this? Understand that it will involve TONS of violence...very, very graphic violence.

This film is one that many people wont like. The violence is extreme but a bigger problem (and the reason my wife disliked the film and gave up on it) was how incredibly sterile and non-emotional the film was...at least through the first 2/3. That was a bit annoying but not a deal breaker for me. What I didnt like was the violence, as after a while it actually became boring. Additionally, while the combination of story elements was unusual, in and of themselves they were not. Decent...but certainly NOT for everyone.

A strong film with plenty to recommend it, EQUILIBRIUM was released to the noise of not another MATRIX rip-off and similar sentiments. This instant decision is a little unfair, because although obviously inspired by the Keanu Reeves blockbuster in places EQUILIBRIUM is a decent and intelligent science fiction thriller with a pleasing change of pace. Once again were in an Orwellian style future of grab greys and mundane apartment-block buildings, where emotion is suppressed and evil henchmen in motorbike helmets go around shooting little dogs. In this world we meet Christian Bale, a martial arts superhero who goes around murdering all those emotional and artistic folks.

Sure, its an old story, but it works well here. CGI cityscapes aside, there are no fancy special effects robots or monsters; instead the basis is on good old-fashioned characters, and with a supporting cast that includes Sean Pertwee, Sean Bean, Taye Diggs, William Fichtner, and Emily Watson; you cant go wrong. Much of the story is predictable and there are a couple of sappy moments, but for the most part this is suspenseful, exciting stuff. A handful of violent, ultra-stylish action sequences (displaying originality, even in this day and age) add to the impact and help make the underlying dreariness rather enjoyable. Very entertaining viewing that deserves to be given a chance. A lot of this works thanks to Bale; once again, hes excellent in the part. Id go so far as to say that this is actually better than THE MATRIX; whereas that film was all action, this one makes you think in a moral sense, and the action supports the story rather than the action being the story.

Categories: Mystery and Thriller

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