September 22, 2014 05:58 PM Posted by juliannadouglas
It's rare for me to randomly run across a movie I've never heard of and even rarer to have it turn out to be worth my time, but that's exactly what happened to me over the weekend. In need of something to watch for our Friday movie night, I started searching Netflix for movies from my 'Want-to-Watch List.' After spending about half an hour and having no luck finding any of them on instant streaming, I resorted to browsing the streaming titles. Finally, I happened across a movie called Equilibrium. The premise of a dystopian world sounded promising, it had a decent cast of fairly well-known stars (Christian Bale, Sean Bean, Taye Diggs), and Netflix guesstimated I'd rate it four stars. Bingo! We had our movie, but just how good would it be?
Well, my verdict: It was quite good. The story takes place in a future dystopian society where, following another world war, a decision was made by the powers that be to remove the perceived cause of such destruction, namely human emotions, by forcing the populace to use a drug that renders them emotionless. However, by doing so, they've also removed the individuality that makes us human as well as feelings like love. In addition, music, books, art, and basically any and all objects that can stir emotions have been deemed illegal, and are destroyed by burning them. Anyone found in possession of such items are arrested (if they can even be taken alive) as 'Sense Offenders,' and burned along with their possessions.
John Preston (played by Christian Bale in his
pre-Batman days) is a high-ranking Grammaton cleric. These guys are basically the enforcers. He's a widower with two children whose wife was executed as a Sense Offender, but he has no feelings about that one way or the other. He blindly follows the orders handed down by Father (their leader), until a life-altering event tempts him to stop his medication. Once out from under it's effects, he realizes the truth of their situation, joins the resistance, and vows to use his position to take down the government.
This movie's dystopian world is intriguing and a little different than other similar stories, just enough to give it it's own unique flavor. The acting was well-done too. Christian does a great job of differentiating between his character's medicated and unmedicated states. I thought the performance of Matthew Harbour, the child actor who portrayed John's son, was particularly notable as well. I enjoyed the choreography of the fight scenes, which were somewhat reminiscent of The Matrix yet were still unique in that they were based on the physics of trajectory. The movie garnered an R rating, I'd say almost exclusively based on these scenes and the high body count overall, but despite that, it was surprisingly free of any extreme blood or gore (I'm a wimp and still liked it.:-)). Equilibrium was first released twelve years ago, and I don't recall hearing anything about then or in the years since. I'm not sure how I missed it (just found out the reason for that was due to a limited US release.), but I'm glad I finally discovered this hidden gem. If you're a lover of dystopian fiction like I am, it's definitely worth your time to watch it. Four and a half stars.
Categories: Movie Monday