EQUILIBRIUM: WILL YOU PAY THE COST TO FEEL?
by David Blackwell
EQUILIBRIUM is George Orwell's 1984 meets THE MATRIX. This is the directing debut of screenwriter Kurt Wimmer. The future
is bleak and sterile where people are devoid of emotion thanks to a drug they inject on a daily basis called Prozium.
This is a society that has saw emotions as the root of all problems after the last big war (World War 3 which started in teh
early 21st century). People who feel are sense offenders. People who posess works of art and books with emotional content
and personal objects can mark you as a sense offender. This new society has set up and trained a force known as the Grammaton
Clerics who are tarined in all forms of weapons and fighting techniques. EQUILIBRIUM is the story of Cleric John Preston (Christian
It begins when Preston and his partner, Cleric Partridge (Sean Bean), are in on a raid on some Sense Offenders. Partridge
is discovered to be carrying a book that wasn't burned. He tells Preston he will turn it in himself, but he doesn't.
Preston figures out Partridge has begun to feel. He goes oustside of the city and finds his partner. Partridge
is found out to be a Sense Offender. Preston is assigned new partner, Brandt (Taye Diggs). T hings start to go wrong
for Preston when he raids the apartment of sense offender named Mary (Emily Watson) and when he accidently let his dose of
Prozium break and then he begins to not take it anymore!
EQUILIBRIUM is the story of a person's struggle to feel. Should he feel? Will it be worth the price? What will
he do? Will he help the rebels who want to bring down the current society or will he turn them in?
The movie was shot on a budget of $20 million with shooting taking place in Berlin, Germany and the citys of Rome and Lazio
in Italy. Christian Bale plays Preston like a man who is sure of himself to a man who questions his new feelings, the
same feelings that his wife developed and lead her to be taken away. Dion Beebe did the cinematography of this cold
grey, black, and white world devoid of emotion- a sterile world. Dion also went on to do the cinematography for teh
recently released Chicago starring Catherine Zeta-Jones and Richard Gere.
EQUILIBRIUM reminds me of other films like FAHRENHEIT 451 with the scene where they take the flame thrower to the Mona
Lisa. The black and white clothing, the sterile enviroment, the leader of Equilibrium called the Father, and the lack
of entertainment can be easily compared to the movie 1984 starring John Hurt. John Hurt, like, Christian Bale, is a man who
first questions the way society is and is it worth the risk to rebel against society no matter what the cost is.
Unlike John Hurt, Christian Bale's charactrer Preston is a well trained killing machine on the side of the law. Preston
can be compared to Fireman Montag in FAHRENHEIT 451. EQUILIBRIUM adds to the assortment of films that paint bleak futures
and dsytopic societies. The Clerics are like a form of unfeeling samurai who are dispensing justice for The Father.
The Clerics in way can be considered samurai due to the scene where Preston and Brandt fight with wooden swords, and Preston
has a samurai type sword on him when he is in his white dress uniform for ceremonial functions. Other types who have
swords with theme at cermonies are Marines and Navy officers in past centuries (but Navy officers did also carry swords on
them all the time). Preston has to worry and be careful what he does because everyone is out to inform on each other.
The sterile society of Libria can be compared to Nazi Germany or Communist Soviet Union. The enviroment of Libria is without
color or artistic expression. The Father talking all the time on the TV screens echoes Big Brother in 1984. Emily Watson's
charcter Mary brings up a good point. Is Life worth living if you can't feel? EQUILIBRIUM is about the fight to feel
and the fight for the right to express the ideas that make people feel.
I'm very impressed with the world and film Kurt Wimmer has created with EQUILIBRIUM. At some points, the movie could
have turned into your usual bland action packed movie, but I'm glad it didn't. I was entertained for a movie that lasts
over 100 minutes. If this is what he can do on $20 million, I wonder what he will do with a $100 million budget. Before
I thought John Carpenter was the only proper director to direct a remake of THE FORBIDDEN PLANET, but I have to say Kurt Wimmer
could do the remake justice too.
It is a shame the Dimension screwed the release and promotion of one of the best science fiction movies of recent
years. They first delayed the movie's release twice and finally give it a limited release in December with little TV
ad coverage. I eagerly await the next movie from Kurt Wimmer as a director. EQUILIBRIUM is an impressive
debut that should be seen by more people.
EQUILIBRIUM- 4.5 (of 5)
EQUILIBRIUM, rated R, Dimension Films
running time: 107 minutes.
written and directed by Kurt Wimmer
Christian Bale- John Preston
Emily Watson- Mary
Taye Diggs- Brandt
Angus MacFadyen- DuPont
Sean Bean- Partridge
William Fichtner- Jurgen
Sean Pertwee- The Father
Other Movies to See: 1984 (1984), FAHRENHEIT 451, BRAVE NEW WORLD, METROPOLIS (1927), GATTACA (1997), BRAZIL, LOGAN'S RUN
This review is (c) 2003 David Blackwell. Equilibrium is distributed by Dimension Films. Email any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org