Ever wanted to see Christian Bale in The Matrix? Well, now you can! Equilibrium: It’s like the Matrix, only with less robots, and more emotion-related drama and allusions. There are black squeaky outfits with too many buttons, there are teeming hordes of expendable soldiers, and there are firefight scenes that are painfully lopsided; everything a good futuristic dystopian movie needs. The plot’s quite simple, and despite the fact that the end twist may throw you for a loop, it really does nothing to offset the intended conclusion. Let’s get this segway spinning.
Some time in the distant future, mankind is recovering from the devastating effects of World War III. An influential group of military individuals has blamed the world’s ruin on human emotion, and as such built a colossal society revolving around the removal of all empathic bonds. Through drugs and propaganda, humanity is steered away from its destructive path and into a hopeful future by the powerful Librian government. Yeah, right. There are a lot of hypocritical moments in Equilibrium that I’d love to point out, but I’ll save it for after the synopsis.
John Preston is a high-ranking cleric serving the Librian government, specifically under the Tetragrammaton Council. The Father’s objective (subsequently all clerics’ objective), is to eliminate all members of the Resistance. These rag-tag heart-feelers smuggle emotional content and experience the world as it was before the Prozium revolution. Prozium is the drug that makes everyone emotionless, by the way. It is the duty of the clerics to hunt down and kill the Resistance fighters, and burn all the emotional propaganda. As such, it is John Preston’s duty, and he does it well.
However, one day, John misses a dose of Prozium. He begins to experience incredible bouts of attachment and sentimentality, which he sweeps under the carpet of official conduct with a fake heartless demeanor. Eventually, he misses another dose. Then another. Before you know it, he’s stealing poetry books from evidence, storing perfumed ribbons in his pockets, and hiding puppies in his trunk. Where once he didn’t care about his wife then later his colleague being executed, now he can barely keep himself composed thinking about them. So what does he do? He finds and joins the Resistance.
I can’t continue without giving away all the juicy secrets, so instead, I’ll make clear all the allusion and hypocrisy stuff. Okay? Okay. First of all, the symbol used by the Tetragrammaton Council is curiously similar to the swastika insignia used by the soldiers of Nazi Germany. Mixed with the heartless dictator, Father, you could say this entire thing is a reference to the Holocaust. Could. Doesn’t mean you have to.
Hypocritical is the fact that the clerics have to kill the Resistance fighters, whereas injecting them with Prozium by force would completely remove their opinions and sentiments regarding the maintenance of the world’s emotional past. Seriously, inject them and they won’t give a damn. Then again, that wouldn’t allow the Tetris-Grammar-Tron to be exceedingly cruel, thus making the protagonist/antagonist aspect of the movie clear. I’m not complaining, I’m just nit-picking. It’s still a fun movie to watch.
On the whole, Equilibrium is just below the line of “too preachy.” It doesn’t get in your face and rant about how human emotion is the best thing ever, it doesn’t command you to think with your heart, and it doesn’t call people who veer towards general apathy jerks. It calls them Nazi jerks. That’s a joke. The acting is as good as it can be for an emotional movie about non-emotion. In its defense, a movie in which everyone’s voice is monotone would produce nothing less than utter irritation. It’s not perfect, but it’s damned good. I would recommend Equilibrium to anyone with a taste in action movies like The Matrix.
Aditya’s Movie Review Blog describes Equilibrium as boring up until the climax, excluding the action scenes, and I’m inclined to agree. When not beating the living crap out of nameless faceless soldiers and major antagonists, Christian Bale’s emotional moments can get pretty redundant and predictable. Well, technically the action scenes are even more predictable, but that goes without saying. Here’s the review link: http://adityasmoviereviews.blogspot.com/2010/03/equilibrium-2002.html