Equilibrium [Blu-ray + Digital HD]
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In a futuristic world, emotion is outlawed and human behavior is controlled by a drug, Prozium, that hinders emotion. A government official is in charge of going around and eliminating potential threats to the regime. When the official forgets to take his dose of Prozium, a whole new world is opened up to him and he takes on the establishment that he's supposed to be working for.
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Basically, this film asks the question, "What is the purpose to life?" As one of the "sense" criminals points out, if you're living just to exist, that is nothing more than a circular existence; your life is a waste and serves no purpose. For the people of "Equilibrium," the purpose of life is to serve the State, which will give both liberals and conservatives plenty to chat about. Christian Bale plays Preston,a cleric, one of the enforcers of sense crime laws and punishments. Essentially, the clerics are akin to the firemen of "Fahrenheit 451" in that they destroy anything which might stir human passion and fill the mind with longing which cannot be fulfilled by the State. Quite early on, we learn that Preston had lost his wife for sense crimes, and he quickly losses his partner for the same offense (Sean Bean dies? Didn't see that one coming!" He is then saddled with a new partner who ominously aspires to make his career under Preston's lead. And we see little by little how Preston is drawn into the sense crime world himself.
As I have said, fairly by the books dystopian material. We see shades of "!984's" Big Brother with Father, the all-powerful leader. An interesting question to pose is whether religion has been exterminated or if it has morphed to a different form. The cross is used as a symbol of Father and the State. The term "cleric" of course applies to the Catholic clergy of our day, and I suppose some would say that the popes (aka Holy Fathers) were the all-powerful rulers of Middle Ages. However, it should be noted that human life has absolutely no value for this society, which runs counter to the very core beliefs of Catholicism. In addition, the Catholic Church has been a patron of the arts and sciences for centuries, whereas Father and the Liberan society holds art to nothing more than a disruptive force and a display of passion. There certainly appears to be no afterlife concept in Libera, but the manner in which sense criminals are executed does invoke allusions to the burning of witches (capes, crosses, burning alive).
Overall, a pretty fun and interesting movie that might even make you think. One thing I would LOVE to see that dystopian films never show is the Day After the great society has fallen. Okay, you have all of these unruly anarchists who just overthrew the Evil Empire. Are they really going to be ready to rebuild and form a new government? Or will it be every man/woman for him/herself, making the weaker among them long for the "good old days" of totalitarianism? Personally, I think that would be cool to see, but I'm not holding my breath.
My main problem with this movie is that it is extremely anti-climactic and the protagonist is too powerful. Under no point was his life in danger, it was the equivalent of watching Superman vanquish enemies without the threat of Kryptonite. He never bled, he was never exhausted, he merely executed everyone with ease. Sure this made him into a bad ass character, but there was no drama. It's fine to watch a character perform flawlessly during the beginning stages of a story where they haven't met their match. It's different when the character is about to face their final confrontation.
I was really hoping for an epic battle with his partner, but instead the character just gets killed off immediately. Everything just went too according to plan, and left the movie severely lacking in drama that compelled you to root for the character.
Either, still a very cool movie to watch if you're interested in a dystopian sci-fi world.
Now the good: It is very moving emotionally, the plot is well-written, the movie is well-paced, and I never felt like I wanted to stop in the middle of it. The climax is done very well. The director does not do the cliche thing at the climax and as a result it is very powerful.
The idea of eliminating emotion with a drug disturbs me a little bit even though I'm not a particularly emotional person. I think the movie was very well made, but it wasn't really about anything I'm interested in. There were some high points in the plot, but most of the plot was a bit boring.
3 stars for the movie overall, but I added 1 because the action was awesome.
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