Equilibrium - Review - The Times

Source: The Times
13 March 2003

ONLY A FOOL and a dreamer could possibly make a sci-fi film as fabulously
unhinged as Equilibrium. So here’s to you, Kurt Wimmer. You’ve created a
new world order by plundering the novels of several sacred familiars. This
is not a script to inspire awe. But to extinguish Sean Bean as casually as
a cigarette in the first ten minutes — for reading a Wordsworth poem —
is a cool measure of serious intent. Your casting of Christian Bale as his
ruthless executioner is a slice of comic genius. But the potty futuristic
fantasy about a brainwashed, tin-pot state run by a (dead) control freak
(Sean Pertwee) is as corny as Daleks on a staircase.
 
The city of Equilibrium is a blueprint of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. The loopy
propaganda is as shrill as Orwell’s 1984. And the numbing civic drugs are
imported from Huxley’s Brave New World. Wimmer’s dystopia is an all too
familiar beast. It is an ancient civic monstrosity run with the venom of a
public school. Angus MacFadyen is the greasy power broker with the usual
depraved ideas of serving the ideal. He is Mr Authority. Taye Diggs is his
lieutenant.
 
Bale is the loose cannon: a sublime law enforcer in this strange hierarchy,
with godlike martial skills. He enjoys himself. Citizens who dare to love, or
express, are terminated with extreme prejudice. But when Emily Watson is
condemned to the city furnace for the sake of a couple of books, Bale
wavers. Therein lies the tale. It’s preposterous, of course. But the fight
scenes are delirious.




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