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Equilibrium Movie Review

Published February 2, 2005 in HAVE YOU SEEN
By Ryan Parsons | Images property of Dimension Films
Equilibrium I don't know if its Prozium or steroids that he's injecting
I was just recently watching a little Cinemax and saw a film that I had not seen for at least a year [so not too long]. I actually own this film and realized that I have never done a review on it; especially since this movie contains some of my favorite actors and only witnessed a limited release. The film I am talking about is Equilibrium. If you have not seen this movie starring Christian Bale, Dominic Purcell, Sean Bean, Taye Diggs, Angus MacFadyen, and Emily Watson, go to your local blockbuster [or whatever rental agency you have] and rent this DVD.

An Old Look at Equilibrium

Equilibrium is a Kurt Wimmer film for those who really enjoyed the original Matrix, as it is a classic story amidst an unknown future. Another perk is for the Christian Bale fans out there, as he has almost all of the screen time.

Equilibrium is about a giant city, Libria, under fascist-like rule after the consequences of World War III [they even sport logos similar to the nazi symbol]. After the war, man decided that human emotion was too powerful of a 'thing' and only caused problems like violence and wars that date back to the times of Alexander. There is only one solution, rid humans the ability to feel by forcing them to follow a strict time schedule with a prescription drug called 'Prozium.' Everybody takes the drug, including peace keepers.

Equilibrium Taye Diggs plays the suspicious 'i love my job' partner
With this drug in use there is only one punishable crime left-- 'sense offense.' People who rebel and go off of the drug are accused and sentenced to death. When a person goes off the drug, they will join small cells of others who have also gone off the drug. The 'cells' work together to try to preserve all the art and film that are being destroyed to protect people from their own feelings. The cells also plan terrorist strikes against Prozium manufacturing plants. As, once a plant goes down, the supply of prozium will cease for a certain period of time. If people are allowed to go off the drug, even for a day, they will also rebel and cause a mass revolution.

Obviously, the government knows of these risks and trains a special security force filled with special ops personnel known as 'Clerics.' The head cleric, John Preston [Christian Bale], loves nothing more than going out, kill sense offenders, and destroy valuable pieces of art; all in the name of the law. However, Preston is soon given a wake up call when he discovers that his partner Cleric, Partridge [Sean Bean], may have stopped using 'Prozium.' Preston is soon forced to kill Partridge, as he is a 'sense offender.' However, right before Preston does so, Partridge spouts out a poem by Yeats[something that is not allowed]. For some reason this poem sticks in Preston's head after the incident.

A few days later, Preston accidentally knocks over his morning dose and has to go to 'the clinic' in order to get a replacement. The clinic unfortunately is closed and Preston is forced to work the day without a dose. Little by little, feelings begin to seep through on Preston. While at first Cleric Preston was extremely frightened, he soon learns that he would rather feel and remain off of the drug. This part of the film is actually one of my favorites.

Equilibrium Sean Bean plays a cleric off of the dose.
Preston's change from non-emotion to full-emotion is truly awesome in Equilibrium and Christian Bale plays his role perfectly. Another great aspect that adds to the effect is the musical score written by Klaus Badelt [a score that Klaus re-uses in Pirates of the Caribbean]. About one-third of the movie is all about Cleric Preston's change from a non-emotional bad guy to a good guy. There are more than a few occasions where we find Preston extremely conflicted as he now has emotions he finds hard to control. A great example of this is when the clerics discover a kennel of puppies [a sense offense] and begin immediately exterminating them. Preston's reaction to each gun shot is riveting, and his ultimate response makes you truly feel for his character. During the extermination, one of the puppies gets free and runs straight to Preston. Preston first does not know how to feel about the puppy, but soon finds deep sympathy for it; causing him to make up excuses on why they should allow some of the puppies to live. Does he succeed? Watch the movie and find out.

As Preston gets used to having emotions, he slowly learns that there is only one solution for society. He must use his training, training that was meant to enforce the laws, in order to make contact with the 'rebellion' and lead the fight against the oppressive government.

I personally enjoyed every step to this movie. The characters were well thought out, each actor [especially Bale] performed beautifully, and the action scenes were sweet. There are some quick scenes where you can tell Equilibrium had a smaller budget than the larger blockbusters. A lot of the cityscapes are done completely with CGI. While the CGI does not look fake, it could look a tiny bit better. The only other complaint that I have heard for this film [it is not my own], is the result of one of the final fight sequences. Even though this scene did not bother me whatsoever, a few of my friends said it killed the entire movie for them. However, don't let that frighten you from seeing the film, as the scene has nothing to do with the overall movie or story.

Final Judgment: Equilibrium is one of those films that I can watch over and over again. Heck, maybe I'll throw the DVD in tomorrow. Not only is there tons of cool action scenes, but the story remains full of depth as it is powered by powerful roles from all participants. The acting is good, the story is good, the music is good, and Christian Bale and Sean Bean both star in it. Equilibrium also features its own fighting style in Gun Kata. What more could I want?

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Ryan Parsons
Sources: Images property of Dimension Films

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