Monday, January 29, 2018

Dystopian Visions #2: Equilibrium (2002) **

Anyone with a surface knowledge of dystopian literature will recognize Equilibrium as a potpourri of Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, and 1984. Include a visual style taken from The Matrix and you have a typical early 21st Century Sci-Fi movie. Christian Bale is the stone faced protagonist John Preston in a future where all emotion expression is against the law, drugs are used to keep everyone numb. Any outpouring of emotion will result in execution. There's no crying in the future! 

The best aspect of Equilibrium is in some of the visual concepts. For the future portrayed here, one that follows a cataclysmic war, adopts a retro Medieval look. The police seem to act as enforcers/spiritual leaders. Other than that, nothing else much works in the film, except the occasional unintended laugh. The most embarrassing parts are the fight scenes that combine gun play and martial arts, Bale looks like he's swatting at flies.

As for the script, none of it makes much sense. Bale and his comrades go around killing dissenters, while at home his creepy son makes sure he never shows emotion. In time, John goes through a change of heart and the story takes a predictable turn.

A dystopia pastiche lacking story and heart, Equilibrium leaves the viewer with nothing but bloated action sequences and banal plot points. 

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