Equilibrium (2002) – movie review

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Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: Christian Bale, Emily Watson, Taye Diggs, Angus MacFadyen, Sean Bean
Director: Kurt Wimmer

John Preston (Christian Bale) is a cleric – a highly trained and lethal government law enforcer. In the not too distant future, the world as we know it has become a place of complete peace and stability, this is due to the vision of the ultimate leader, Father (Sean Pertwee), and his mouthpiece, Dupont (Angus MacFadyen). The inhabitants of this world are kept in their Utopian state, through the continuous dosage of a drug called Prozium. The drug inhibits the user’s ability to feel emotions but once dosage is ceased these feelings quickly return hence the need for the clerics. The clerics are trained in a unique martial arts form called ‘gun kata’ that combines Japanese kendo moves with the fluid manipulation of guns. The clerics track down any offenders and execute them on the spot.

John Preston is the chief cleric and he suspects his partner Partridge (Sean Bean) has started ‘feeling’. After following Partridge to a secluded outer town post Preston confirms his suspicions. This series of events causes Preston to miss a dosage himself and thus he equally starts to ‘feel’. Brandt (Taye Diggs) is assigned as Preston’s new partner and he in turn begins to suspect Preston’s actions.

When Preston apprehends a female offender called Mary (Emily Watson) he becomes strongly attracted to her. Preston then discovers that his children have also been ‘feeling’, and this drives him to investigate the system he has dedicated his life too. His investigation leads him to the rebel leader Jurgen (William Fichtner) who offers Preston a chance to put right what has gone so wrong with the Father’s visionary Utopia. Preston must now choose whether to fight for right or wrong – either way he still has to fight.

Christian Bale more than adequately fulfils this role, handling the fight scenes perfectly as well as the dialogue driven scenes. Taye Diggs is equally good in his role, adding a touch of evil wrapped in a deceptive sugar coating. Supporting performances from Sean Bean, Sean Pertwee, Emily Watson, Angus Mcfayden and William Finchter are all very well executed.

Direction from Kurt Wimmer is okay but needed more character development across the board, and whilst the film has a very intriguing story it is still very much action driven. The action scenes are fantastic but are just not enough, as they are an integral part of the story and more, would have been better.

All in all it is still a good film although comparisons may be made to THE MATRIX and MINORITY REPORT it is actually a very different film from both of these.

4 out of 6 stars