Equilibruim review by The Grim Ringler

First off, let me dispel the rumors of this being a Matrix-wannabe. It isn’t. It seems like it was very inspired by Matrix and more so by video games, but this is not a rip-off of Matrix in any way. What it is is a very beautifully shot sci-fi movie with way more ambition than story, and it’s not a bad little flick.

Set in a future after Man has had a third world war, society re-forms under the rule of one man called Father and a council that creates the law for the new world. Under Father the world becomes a more peaceful place as everyone is lawfully abided to inject a drug every day that will calm them and quell any emotions so that, with no emotions, there is no war. To further this Father and the council ban all Art in the belief that any and all Art leads to emotion and emotion leads to hatred, anger, and war. To help find any remaining works of Art or members of a faction that opposes Father and the lays of the new society, a new breed of officer is created called the Cerlic, and these priest-like officers seek out and find all ‘Sense’ offenders and incinerate them and their hidden Art stashes. Clerics are almost mystical figures, seen as the priests of Father and taught a new martial art that makes they and their guns one, and making their gun fights something akin to ballet. One cleric though named Preston (Christian Bale sans beard and dragon), upon forgetting to replace a broken vial of his emotion depressant, begins to feel, and the more he feels, the more he wants to feel, until it is too late to go back and be whom he was and he must choose whether or not to join a resistance and bring down Father, thus letting dangerous emotions rule again, or re-join the mindless masses.

The movie, which I liked well enough but was under-whelmed with, is really one of the most ambitious movies I have seen in a while. Shot beautifully, and with amazing sets, I applaud everyone involved for making a very fine film. The acting is good, though generally emotion-less – go fig – and the sets are stunning. I mean, Lucas spent tens of millions to do some of the things they did on the cheap in this film, and it still looks wonderful. My problem is the story. The story, while intriguing, is so hackneyed and time-worn that it looked and felt like an adaptation of one of my favorite books – Fahrenheit 451. Sad thing is, it isn’t. And I just couldn’t get past how closely it resembled the world of Fahrenheit and how dammit, why couldn’t they come up with a better plot? But again, this is not to deter you from seeing it necessarily. It is a beautiful film. The actions scenes are pretty amazing, and the gun-kata they created for the film – their fighting style where guns are used – will be copied in games and movies for years to come. I also have to admit that I feel like this movie mighta been a good beginning for a bigger film, a series or trilogy. I realize that they might not have had the money for two, or especially three movies, but there is the germ of a really great mythology here, a bigger, deeper story that could get better with each successive sequel. The idea of these clerics, of a new world order, and of a government that doesn’t follow its own edicts, has great potential.

I have huge issues with this film but the friend I watched it with loved it. And I think a lot of people will. I would recommend it because, if nothing else, it’s nice to see a modestly budgeted film that has this much ambition and talent behind it. It’s a shame the film didn’t do better at theaters but I bet that now that it’s on video it will make a bundle…and will make someone think sequel.

The DVD comes with two commentaries and a making of featurette, neither of which I got a chance to see, but there are some neat things on the disc that would warrant a purchase if you liked it. The DVD image is clean and clear of any artifacts, and the sound should kick for people with a good sound system.

Equilibrium is far from a perfect film, but it is a film that a lot of people will enjoy and get a lot out of. It’s smart, it’s loaded with style, and it has some brilliant action sequences, I just wish the story were a bit better. What I thought was a good film, to many will be a great film, but if nothing else, you won’t feel like you wasted your time or money by renting this and giving it a try.


7 out of 10 Jackasses
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