Equilibrium is a 2002 sci-fi about a dystopian society written and directed by Kurt Wimmer. It’s kind of like 1984 meets The Matrix, except 1984 and The Matrix are solid works of art and Equilibrium is a terrible movie. In the future, human emotion has been made illegal, and all the citizens of Libria are forced to take Prozium to suppress any feelings. Christian Bale stars as John Preston, a Cleric (a cop/warrior-priest) who works for the oppressive government by tracking down and destroying anything that has artistic or emotional value. One day Preston stops taking his Prozium. He starts experiencing emotions for the first time, a dangerous thing when you can be killed for any form of Sense Offense. He starts to sympathize with the Underground, a group of rebels trying to overthrow the government.
His Cleric partner, Brandt (played by Taye Diggs) starts to become suspicious of Preston, and so Preston must suppress his emotions to avoid suspicion while simultaneously trying to undermine Father, the leader of Libria. Along the way, Preston falls in love with another Sense Offender who has been sentenced to death, he must deal with his creepy kids, and he also adopts a puppy for some reason.
I really enjoyed this movie the first time that I watched it. I thought it was a dark and gritty depiction of the future, I thought that the action scenes were cool, and I thought that the film had a lot of deep themes, which would add to its longevity. And when I watch it now, I can’t help but cringe. It doesn’t stand up. It’s a cheesy, poorly directed film that would not be out of place as Sci-Fi Channel movie of the week. The first act of the movie does a decent job setting everything up, but everything after the second act seems rushed and forced. And that whole adopting the puppy plotline really drags everything down. I know that they were trying to convey Preston’s changing emotional state, but a heartfelt bonding moment with a widdle-bitty puppy is extremely cheesy and out of place in a film that’s trying to be dark and edgy. Sean Bean is in this movie too. He dies. That’s not a spoiler. He dies in everything.
Critically Rated at 7/17
Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young