I have to admit something right from the start. The movie “Equilibrium” is one of my top 10 films ever… although it’s also in my top five… actually, it might even be in my top three?
In any case, it’s a film that I make sure to watch at least once a year, and I always discover something new and interesting.
But, since it’s probably obvious that there will be a lot of praise here, let me just briefly reveal the plot of the film, okay?
Ahem… (trying to mimic the vocal capabilities of Liam Neeson):
“THE THIRD WORLD WAR has happened. It became clear that humanity would not survive a FOURTH.
A solution had to be found.
And it was found.
Emotions must be ‘killed,’ because they are the source of all evil. They give birth to anger, passion, jealousy, hatred… all those emotions that can lead to conflicts… and war.
And the solution is… bromazepam!
Just kidding… it’s ‘prozium.’
Terrifying, right? 😀
‘Prozium’ is a drug that residents must self-inject every day, at a precisely determined time, completely numbing their emotions.
One of the things that can awaken emotions is art. Therefore, it must be found and destroyed (i.e., burned). Whether it’s the painting of the “Mona Lisa”, a gramophone and a record of Mozart’s works, Charles Dickens, Haruki Murakami, “Svet Kompjutera (computer magazine)” or Ryan Reynolds’ movies (“Sorry, O Canada!” – note from subconscious)… everything is destroyed.
At the helm of (such) a state is the Father, a legendary figure, who appears on every channel and radio station delivering sermons and speeches that resonate throughout the city about how the world has been saved and how good it is for the people (“Uh, why does all this sound so familiar?” – note from subconscious).
In other words, a (dis)topia has been created.
But, some don’t quite agree with this ‘no emotions’ policy.
They are the Resistance. They try to fight against the regime in a guerrilla fashion, in small groups, trying to preserve/hide works of art from destruction. But the biggest problem for the Resistance isn’t the army or the police.
No, the real problem are the Clerics, members of the Order of Tetragrammaton. Individuals specially trained to fight terrorists, whose skills, agility, and cold-bloodedness border on the supernatural. One Cleric can effortlessly fight dozens of terrorists, whether in enclosed or open spaces. They are feared and respected.
One of these Clerics is our hero. John Preston (but since we’re buddies with him, we’ll call him JP).
For JP, everything goes by the book, until the moment he must eliminate his partner for the crime of “feeling”, captures a member of the Resistance… and carelessly misses his dose of ‘prozium’…
Where to start with impressions about “Equilibrium”?
Let’s start with the acting. The leading role is entrusted to one of my favorite actors, Christian Bale, who is a Serbian son-in-law. 😁 His transition from an emotionless killing machine to a person who discovers emotions and tries to somewhat keep them under control is brilliant. And the other actors are not far behind in their roles (Sean “I’m going to bite the dust in this movie/series too” Bean, Sean Pertwee, Angus Macfadyen, Taye Diggs, Emily Watson, and others).
The visual details in the film are particularly interesting. A monochromatic, impersonal (dis)topia full of high, monochromatic, impersonal buildings. People moving like robots, silent and stripped of any emotional reaction. And the outskirts of the city, where the Resistance most often hides, are all ruins. It truly brings a slight chill.
The action is what made me fall in love with this movie as a kid. Christian Bale kicks ass**s like hell! Confrontations with multiple opponents, both unarmed and with guns, the famous gun-kata (pistol-kata? Rifle-kata?) that has become a classic for all time… wow!
And the plot? My goodness, it’s a topic that could be debated for days. Is a society without emotions the solution to all human problems? Or are emotions precisely what makes us human (or humane, if you prefer), and without them, we would just be robots? Do emotions indeed lead to chaos? Or are emotions what have enabled the evolution and advancement of humanity? Are the ‘terrorists” fighting for the freedom of emotions and choice the bad guys, or is it maybe the “orderly” society, seemingly calm and flawless at first glance?
But if such a society is ideal, does that mean its (political) leaders are ideal too? Or…
All in all, “Equilibrium” is a film that film critics weren’t particularly thrilled by, but the audience (mostly) was and (still is!) defending this movie (here I am in the front row). This film will never bore me, I will always return to it (at least once a year) and will always discover some new detail that makes me think…
…and of course, I will always enjoy the scenes when JP kicks everyone’s ass**s. And one of the scenes that perhaps best describes the human race?
The last shot.
And you, dear readers, what are your impressions of this movie? 🙂
Release date: 2002
Duration: 107 minutes