.post-body img { width: 500px!important; height: auto!important; }

Thursday, December 19, 2013


DuPont: And you, Preston, the supposed savior of the resistance, are now its destroyer, and, along with them, you've given me yourself... calmly... coolly... entirely without incident.

John Preston: [Polygraph machine scribbling rapidly] No.
[Polygraph suddenly registers Preston completely in control]

Polygraph Technician: Oh... Shit.

John Preston: Not without incident.

This is one of my all time favorite movies, yet I have a hard time defending it now as a serious piece of cinema, and I’m not sure why. It gets low ratings on all the major film sites despite tons of great actions scenes, a huge overarching story line, great attention to detail, and a terrific performance by Christian Bale.

The Story: The dictator ruled state of Libria force-feeds its citizens drugs to suppress their emotions, and in fact, feeling emotion is entirely illegal. Punishment is death.

Overactive emotions have been known to cause many of humanity’s previous atrocities and wars, so to vanquish emotion is to therefore benefit humankind. There is a method to the madness; this film is set right after world war III, and emotion suppression is modern humanity’s solution for preventing world war IV.

Of course there are those that do not see this repression as a benefit and so an underground resistance forms. Although the plot is excellently executed, the dystopian theme comes across as just a little bit too close (for some, not for me) to an exact replica of an Orwellian model. Equilibrium has been accused of being unoriginal, a mere mishmash of well-known various Sci-Fi stories.

I was never bothered by this mishmash. Examining the film shows there are more than enough original features, features that people must be overlooking when judging, because the originality more than counter balances the borrowed material.

The top ranking law enforcement officials are (I think very cleverly) called Clerics. They employ the use a fictitious fighting style called the Gun Kata. The Gun Kata a major part of the film and makes for some amazing scenes. The details about the world are so specific that it really is an amazing accomplishment on writer/director Kurt Whimmer’s part. Whimmer makes a living mainly as a writer, Equilibrium being one of only two major features he’s directed.

As I said earlier, Christian Bale gives a great performance, handling almost all the fight scenes himself, and due to budget constraints, only being allowed a handful of takes to get each set of complex choreography right. Director Whimmer makes excellent use of light and space, pleading his case for humanity's right to “feel” as light peeks through the drab gray tones of the photography, rarely, but just enough.

Equilibrium is the biggest box office flop of a film I can think of. For how epic it is, the 20 million dollar budget seems miniscule, but  its total to-date gross is $1.2 million, a totally pathetic ratio. Equilibrium appeared around the same time as the Matrix was doing its thing and so Equilibrium got very little press. The two films share a similar vibe and since Equilibrium came out second, it loses points for originality, and even though The Matrix is undoubtedly a great achievement, Christina Bale is hands-down the better lead (I'm not too fond of Keanu Reeves). Just based on that fact alone Equilibrium is worth checking out.