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Film Review - Equilibrium
Here's one that is sure to become a cult favorite. Equilibrium is a cross between 1984, The Matrix, and THX 1138.
Set in the not too distant future, the film takes place after World War III. What is left of humanity decides it can't survive another war. To that end, society decides it must address the true cause of war, anger. To prevent anger all people are required to self medicate at particular times of the day to suppress their ability to experience emotions.
To enforce society's needs a special clergy has been created. The clericks are true believers. In an interesting twist of New-Speak, to protect peace the clericks very violently kill anyone who stands in the way of society.
John Preston is one such clerick. In fact he's the ultimate clerick. No one is more adept in the skill of the trade than he. But now he's beginning to have his doubts. Preston's wife has been found to be a subversive. He is taken off to be burned alive. In the course of an investigation, Preston interrogates a woman who sparks a feeling in him. Soon he's faking his medication. His emotions are coming back, and he sees the evil of his ways.
In many ways, I saw parallels with our society in the post-911 era. The American Society is paranoid wanting to be safe and secure. We are allowing government to take our civil liberties to provide this security. In the end, we are less free today than we were on September 10, 2001. In Equilibrium the citizenry has also asked the government of take their freedom away for the very same reasons. It finally takes one man in a position of power to see that life without the freedom to feel, isn't really life.
What doesn't work in this film is that you keep thinking about all the other films that have made this statement. Many of those films are superior, and you keep thinking this is a second-rate movie. It really isn't, it's just the relative comparisons that give you this impression.
One of the really cool points is a martial art that has been developed for the clericks. It's sort of Tai Chi with automatic pistols. The form is designed to put the clerick in the smallest target zone while putting the foe in the largest killing zone. It's a very well thought out story point. There's probably some guy at Homeland Security working on this right now.
Some of the sets are very nicely worked out. Some look like the budget was getting tight. But over-all, I liked the look of the world that was presented. I have to give the film a decent rating. It's not ground breaking, nor original, but it is timely, well edited, and well presented. Beats the crap out of Cannibal! The Musical.
Directed by Kurt Wimmer
Released in 2002
MPAA Rating: R
Reviewed by Mongo