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Plot: In a futuristic world, a strict regime has eliminated war by suppressing emotions: books, art and music are strictly forbidden and feeling is a crime punishable by death. Cleric John Preston (Bale) is a top ranking government agent responsible for destroying those who resist the rules. When he… Runtime: 107 min Release Date: 06 Dec 2002
Worth seeing twice in two consecutive days which I did. (by straightarrow)
I went in to see "Equilibrium" with no knowledge of the movie other than a two line synopsis from a local newspaper and the movie poster in the theater lobby. As usual, I was practicing my theory of "lowered expectations." I expect a movie to be horribly awful ahead of time, so I can not be disappointed. I was not disappointed. At the end of the film I could not sit still in my seat. I felt the urge to go out into the world and proclaim the utter awesomeness of "Equilibrium." Such words as "Sweet," "Crazy," and "Righteous" sprang <more>
forth from my lips in rapid succession when I talked about the movie with my friends. Not since the "Fellowship of the Ring" have I desired to sing a movie's praises. And I mean literally SING. "Equilibrium" could, and should, be the sleeper hit of the year. The film's action sequences stir up the blood and pump the adrenaline as if you were riding a roller-coaster. The art style, while minimalistic, and thus maybe confused for low-budget by some, is actually quite successful in portraying a totalitarian and emotionless society. The acting is excellent as well, and quite possibly the best I have seen in an action film in long time. While the nay-sayers will say that the film is too unoriginal, borrowing elements of its story and premise from "Fahrenheit 451" and "Brave New World," these complaints can be disregarded as the movie adds enough of its own style and story to make the comparisons plausible in basic premise only. In the end, like any movie, "Equilibrium" is meant as entertainment. And entertain it does. It does it so very well. It mixes action and with substantial plot and original style to make an excellent whole. Go see it. Go see it twice. Go see "Equilibrium," Cleric.
Put down the Valium and watch this film (by BrandtSponseller)
Set in a future, post-World War III society where emotions have been outlawed, Equilibrium tells the story of John Preston Christian Bale , a government agent who begins to have doubts about the policy he is enforcing.Equilibrium is the perfect example why I do not rate lower for derivativeness or unoriginality. The film is basically high-concept combination of Fahrenheit 451 1966 , George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four original published in 1949, film versions appeared in 1954, 1956 and 1984 , The Matrix 1999 and a bit of The Wizard of Oz 1939 thrown in for good measure. What <more>
matters is not how original the ideas are assuming it's not a case of plagiarism , as whether something is original or not is an epistemological problem that tells us more about our own familiarity with other material rather than the precedent status of the artwork we're questioning, but how well the material is handled. The high-concept material in Equilibrium is handled brilliantly.On its surface, after a brief action-oriented beginning, Equilibrium is basically a progression from a fairly complex sci-fi film meaning simply that it takes a lot of exposition to get up to speed to a thriller to a "gun fu"-styled actioner. The progression is carried out deftly by writer/director Kurt Wimmer who unfortunately hasn't shown the same level of elegant panache in other films I've seen from him, including Sphere 1998 and The Recruit 2003 , with all of the genres somewhat present throughout the film. Wimmer is so austerely slick here that Equilibrium sometimes resembles a postmodernist automobile commercial. The transition from genre to genre is incredibly smooth.The most impressive material on this surface level is the gun fu action stuff, which almost "out-Matrixes" The Matrix in style, if not volume. Preston is so skilled to be an almost invincible opponent. His solitary misstep as a fighter occurs once he gives himself over to emotion. This is nicely related to the common advice from kung fu senseis that emotion lessens one's effectiveness in combat.Of course a big part of Equilibrium is the set of philosophical points it has to make about emotion. There are sections of the film that are appropriately dialogue-heavy, and Wimmer is more than conspicuous with this one of two primary theme s . Just as important as dialogue for Wimmer's commentary on man's emotions are body language and behavior. Some viewers might see it as a flaw that characters frequently show what they consider to be signs of emotions in their comments or behavior, but that's part of Wimmer's agenda. Because it's difficult to even say just what counts as an emotion, and emotions are so wrapped-up with being sentient beings, it would be difficult if not impossible to fully eliminate them, and it's certainly not recommendable. The cast does an excellent job of portraying characters who are supposed to be mostly emotionless but with cracks in the stoic armor continually poking through.Wimmer has a harsh view of our society's self-medication epidemic--even the title of the film seems to be a stab at the common claim that drugs like Prozac and Xanax are taken to help one "smooth out", or "equalize", extremes of mood, or extreme dispositions. The Equilibrium government extends this agenda into the tangible material realm as they also attempt to "smooth out" mood swings by eliminating any cultural artifacts that might promote varied moods/emotions. Wimmer seems to see it as a not-too-exaggerated extension of the modus operandi behind Prozac-like drugs.The other primary theme is one of institutional control. Wimmer has a lot to say about unquestioningly following authorities, and he's careful to show that it's not just governmental authorities that can be a problem. He does this by tightly wrapping religious allegory with his depiction of Equilibrium's government. The leader is known as "Father", and the government secret service members are "clerics". Those outside of this control are shown as authentic, free, individualistic and happy despite the hardships involved with their embrace of forbidden thought/items.More subtly, Wimmer employs the now overused washed out blue-gray cinematography of late 1990s/early 2000s genre films towards an unusual end. It's not just a stylistic device here, but represents a particular kind of reality. Under the purview of the fascistic government, blue-gray predominates. When glimpses of freedom/authenticity enter the film, the blue-gray look is gone, replaced with strongly saturated warm colors, and occasionally a more nostalgic subdued tone. This is one of the film's similarities to The Wizard of Oz, although maybe not the most significant one.If you're someone who cherishes originality for its own sake, you might not like Equilibrium as much, but you have much more serious epistemological problems to sort out. Otherwise, this is a film worth watching and thinking about.
If you are a fan of such books as Brave New World, 1984, The Giver, or This Perfect Day or movies like the Matrix and Logan's Run--Equilibrium is just the movie for you. In addition to a terrifying plot set in our very own future, the movie has mind-blowing action sequences that are choreographed beautifully but not obviously and shot brilliantly and spectacular acting on the part of Christian Bale. I hate predictable movies and this one is anything but...there are so many twists and turns, you'll be on the edge of your seat with suspense the majority of the time. I was hooked <more>
within the first minute! Whether you love action or a great plot line, this movie gives the Matrix trilogy especially Reloaded and Revolutions a run for its money--to say the least.
Fascinating Action/Sci-Fi Film!, That's Very Engrossing, And Always Surprising!, With An Amazing Performance From Christian Bale! (by callanvass)
This is a fascinating Action/Sci-Fi film that's very engrossing, and always surprising, with an amazing performance from Christian Bale!. All the characters are awesome, and the story is fantastic and constantly unpredictable, plus Christian Bale is simply amazing in this!. It's a little slow to get going, but pretty soon after wards i really got into the story,and while i didn't get all that was going at certain points i was still fascinated all the same!, plus Taye Diggs was great as the villain, as was the other one!. The ending has a shocking twist, and it has some spectacular <more>
gun battles and fight scenes!, plus i wish Sean Bean didn't have to get killed of so soon. The character development is awesome!, and i thought the plot while complicated was really excellent!, plus some scenes gave me the chills.There were some really shocking scenes, and the film had a disturbing feel to it, plus i found it quite creative!. This is a fascinating Action/Sci-Fi film, that's very engrossing and always surprising, with an amazing performance from Christian Bale!, and i say it's a must see for everyone!. The Direction is excellent!.Kurt Wimmer does an excellent job here, with stunning camera work,fantastic angles, wonderful slow mo shots, and lots of other great creative shots as well!. The Acting is wonderful!. Christian Bale is AMAZING as always, and is amazing here, he is incredibly tense, extremely likable, always unpredictable, had a very mysterious character, carried the film,had a lot of character, and you can't take your eyes off him when he's on screen, and amazing performance indeed! Bale Rules!! . Taye Diggs is great here as one of the villains, and while i wanted to slap that smile off his face at times, he was quite effective, for the most part, i just wished he had more screen time. Emily Watson is great here, and can do these roles in her sleep!,i liked her lots. Sean Bean sadly only has a cameo, but it's a damn cool one at that! Bean Rules! . Rest of the cast do fine. Overall a must see for everyone!. ****1/2 out of 5
An overlooked gem that is DEFINITELY worth a look (by mattymatt4ever)
I won't hesitate to call this film a masterpiece! First of all, the premise is very original and brings up some interesting concepts. It's the 21st century, and all emotions have been outlawed. It sounds strange on the surface, but the society feels that emotions lead to conflict, which can lead to war and destruction. And having just finished World War 3, the society is fighting to make sure another war won't break out. Now, THIS is a sci-fi plot I can relate to. This actually sounds like something that may happen in the future. This is none of your "Matrix" or <more>
"Star Wars Episode 1" mumbo-jumbo. I don't mind sci-fi as a genre, but for me to really be connected to a film, it has to be based in reality. And just because a movie stretches the truth, doesn't mean it shouldn't contain any truth. The "Matrix" films aren't based in reality; they're based in some crackhead alternate universe where a whole bunch of wacky things happen and the movie tries to make sense of it with a lot of pretentious sci-fi jargon that only geeks of the genre will fully absorb. I don't have to be a sci-fi geek to understand "Equilibrium." Christian Bale gives one of the best performances in his career, and I really felt for his character and his struggle. There's also a great tension between his character and that of Taye Diggs, who envies his status as an officer. My favorite moment, which actually sent me to tears, was when the squad was sent to murder a large group of canines, and Bale becomes hesitant as he picks up one of the cute little puppies, and feels incredibly sympathetic towards it since he just started to feel emotion. And there's also a touching flashback, where his wife is arrested, yet he doesn't have any feelings about the event. And I didn't even get to the spectacular action sequences, which are bound to give the Wachowski Brothers a run for their money! The film was made on a low budget, so the effects aren't as high-tech as in "The Matrix," but who said expensive effects make better action scenes? They're even better, since they don't depend highly on CGI. The scenes are so beautifully choreographed that I felt like I was watching a great John Woo film. But part of what made the scenes work was the fact that I fully sympathized with Bale's character and his goal to rebel against the society that's trying to put him and everyone else down. I also love the wonderful score, which at times sounds like the one from "Broken Arrow"--which also worked wonderfully. Good films come more often than you assume, but great films don't. So I'm always proud to see a great film like this come along, and it's a damn shame that it didn't receive good distribution and probably made peanuts at the box office. Because this is a MUST-SEE!!! Screw "The Matrix"! "Equilibrium" is sci-fi at its best! My score: 9 out of 10
A 9 out of 10 only for some budget deficiencies that show a bit. By all means skip the director commentary because its all whining about lack of funds. Understandable, but obnoxious to sit through. Let me just comment on a few things not much mentioned in the customer reviews. First, despite what's stated by many and even the IMDb plot summary, the population shown here is not drugged to the point of being "emotionless". People have to feel enough to care about family, obeying the rules, succeeding at their jobs, etc. Rather, the highs and lows of emotion have been chemically <more>
eliminated. Although this is taught from birth to be necessary for "sense" purity, the real reason is that it makes it easier for a repressive regime to stay in power and at least partially prevent rebellion. And for anyone who thinks the mass public attendance of televised political harangues is unrealistic, go rent "Triumph of the Will" by the chronicler of Nazi ascendancy, Leni Riefenstahl. And remind yourself that Hitler's adoring masses weren't even drugged.Second, although the drug is used to control emotions, its good old indoctrination that dictates behavior. The drugged state is reinforced by every mind control practice you can think of. Children are rewarded for ratting out parents, friends tattle on friends, etc. While the immediate reward is continued survival of the ratter at the expense of the rattee, you still get the sense that even children can feel some level of satisfaction in having earned brownie points, done their "duty", cleansed their family, whatever. Careful watching or re-watching of this movie shows that people around the edges of the main characters express flickers of emotion according to their job status, with those in more regular jobs having less rein on their responses. By contrast one key character is obviously off his meds, though some viewers seem to think this was either bad acting or some kind of continuity error. Actually its important to the plot.In a truly emotionless society no one would even bother to procreate or care for children. So even John Preston Christian Bale seems permitted to indicate a flicker of pride over his young son's acceptance into the cleric training school, which he expresses right in front of the most important boss he has. From what we see its only he and his fellow Grammaton Clerics who are trained to squelch their emotions entirely, as well they might since they are the cruel enforcement arm of their society's vicious goals.Third, Bale deserves a lot of credit for the way this movie succeeds. He does a wonderful job of making us care about a nearly-expressionless man who sets his own liberation in motion through one simple accident or is it? while brushing his teeth, a small personal cleansing that suggests bigger things are coming. He's soon slammed hard by emotions he's never been allowed to feel, emotions that both intrigue and frighten him and which he dare not express. Its almost worth the price of rental/purchase to see him play a man hearing his first music, or sitting and watching his children sleep late one night. Even as we realize he's feeling paternal love to a degree he's never felt it before, the fact remains he still can't show it and his kids can't know it or they'll turn him in. By the time he reviews a key event in his personal life, you can feel its horrific impact on him by the merest flicker of reaction on his face, and in the tiniest changes in body language. The tension between what he realizes and feels and what he dares to show builds to an agonizing sub-climax that sets the finale in motion.Fourth, the ironic different between what is expected of people in this dark future and how human nature really operates is used to great effect. Preston's special skill as a cleric is his ability to anticipate what lies beneath, what's behind the wall, what his quarry is thinking. In other words, to sense. This makes him suspect as well as valuable to his masters. The feeling of personal jeopardy builds wonderfully as he experiences more and struggles harderto hide it, particularly as he realizes his special mission is being scrutinized by his new partner.The best sci-fi is never about technology, the best martial arts movies are never about the fighting. The human heart may never have perfect equilibrium, and this quiet little classic of a movie sure never got its due in a limited theatrical release. But its worth your time and then some.
If there is one complaint about the Hollywood system that rings true, it is that Hollywood seems quite bereft of ideas. Then films like Equilibrium come out and remind us that it's not that we're out of ideas so much as we're just not trying hard enough. Not that Equilibrium is inherently new - it borrows a fair few plot concepts from Farenheit 451 and Nineteen Eighty-Four, to name the most prominent examples. It is the way in which the old ideas are combined with the new that makes Equilibrium a fun and underrated experience.The premise is simple enough. In a kneejerk reaction to <more>
the horrors of World War Three, the survivors outlaw what they blame the chaos upon. Their own emotions, in other words. As the lead character has a series of revelations, we begin to understand that in so doing, they have also outlawed much of what gives our existence a point. In the bland, lifeless world that the law-abiding citizens inhabit, everything that the audience takes for granted to make their lives worthwhile is being systematically destroyed. Shades of the America of today, the whole principle of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, are shown in a stark horror show.I've read people comparing this film to The Matrix or its sequels. Where The Matrix series' fights were overlong, and often with no payoff, Equilibrium's fights are short and to the point. The difference this makes is, needless to say, as uplifting as Preston's fight to regain the humanity he stripped so many others of. Instead of having fights with no emotional connection to the characters, the story is given sufficient development to make the audience care what happens.The film is not entirely without flaws. The Prozium element seems to have been written with no regard for the facts about psychiatric medicines. Their purpose is not to suppress emotion at all, but to balance the chemical system of the brain in order to give the patient better control of them. Sure, they're not without problems of their own, but exaggerating them like this does not do the portion of the community that needs them any favours. That aside, however, the on-camera struggle is one of the most intriguing I've viewed for some time. Ergo, this minor plot problem is made up for. The only other real complaint I have is that the film could have done with a little more footage to give some characters more of a chance to develop.I gave Equilibrium an eight out of ten. It's not the best negative science fiction you'll ever see, but it is enough of a breath of fresh air that this won't entirely matter. If the MPAA made more films like this, it wouldn't be suffering the constant financial dire straits that it so loves to blame everyone else for.
Great flick if you can suspend your sense of reality. (by padiyark)
I remember reading about this film in the Pittsburgh free newspaper and the critic giving the film 1.5 stars. I didn't care to read the review I can't trust many nowadays , but I found the rating surprising,especially with great actors like Christian Bale and Emily Watson. Then I saw the relatively good reviews it got on IMDb and decided to have a look. All I can say is I loved it. The theme is very reminiscent of "THX-1138" or "1984", but the underlying theme of "Animal Farm" eventually prevales. I actually liked the simplicity of the sets and the <more>
acting as well. Some would consider it bad acting, but remember that we are dealing with people who are not supposed to feel, and as a result, the acting would look like a bunch of Keanu Reeves, but I could get over it. Some would also complain about the martial-art/gun hybrid, and yes, it's way over the top and unbelievable, but heck, it just looks awesome and it is the film's guilty pleasure. Only thing that I'm still trying to figure out is why the Taye Diggs character showed so much emotion at times when feelings are banned it makes sense in the end, but it's surprising he doesn't get arrested at times . So in conclusion, yeah, it may have its flaws, but still a great flick to watch.8/10
A Great Collection of Story lines (by claudio_carvalho)
In the future, after the Third World War, the world is ruled by a totalitarian and fascist society with the leadership of 'The Father'. Arts, music, books, luxury and feelings are not acceptable, and persons uses a drug called 'Prozium' in a daily basis to repress their feelings and feel happy. The opponents to this new world are called offenders and they form the underground resistance to the system, who are destroyed by very-well trained and powerful agents called 'The Clericks'. John Preston Christian Bale is one of this agents, and his life changes when he misses <more>
his daily dose of 'Prozium'. 'Equilibrium' is a great sci-fi film. The writer used the same formula used by Quentin Tarantino', blending many story lines to write this tale. He used George Orwell's '1984' and 'Animal Farm'; Ray Bradbury's 'Fahrenheit 451'; 'Logan's Run'; 'THX-1138'; 'Matrix' and Aldous Huxley's 'Brave New World'. Christian Bale has another great performance and although having a commercial ending, I liked this movie. The conclusion of the story would be better off with a dark end. My vote is eight.Title Brazil : 'Equilibrium'