Equilibrium - Review - Washington Times

Source: Washington Times
'Equilibrium' sure-footed in totalitarian nightmare
May 8, 2003

Veteran scriptwriter Kurt Wimmer, known for "The Recruit," made his
directorial debut with Equilibrium, due next week from Dimension Home
Entertainment (priced for rental VHS, $29.99 DVD). The film borrows liberally
from the seminal novels "1984" and "Brave New World," as well as such
films as "Fahrenheit 451," "Gattaca" and "The Matrix," yet manages to
emerge as a darkly entertaining dystopian fable in its own right. It's our...

Video pick of the week
Following World War III, human emotions are compulsorily neutralized by
a drug called Prozium, while "sense offenders" found clinging to such
outlawed artifacts as books, records and artwork are summarily incinerated
by a totalitarian state ruled by a "Wizard of Oz"-like "father." These strict
societal sanctions are mercilessly enforced by "grammaton clerics," highly
trained professional killing machines like John Preston (appropriately
underemoted by the always welcome Christian Bale).

After he's compelled to slay his own sense-offending partner Partridge
(Sean Bean), Preston surreptitiously ceases taking his meds, opening his
caged spirit to a sudden barrage of powerful, confusing emotions that
ultimately turn him against his fascist fellows and toward the dissidents
he'd been systematically terminating.

A rare contemporary foray into cerebral sci-fi, "Equilibrium" adroitly
succeeds in charting Preston's gradual, painful human liberation while
creating escalating tension between our reluctant hero and his increasingly
suspicious new partner Brandt (Taye Diggs). The mostly British thesps are
all first-rate, especially Angus MacFadyen (of "Braveheart") as the
grammaton chief and Emily Watson (of "Red Dragon") as an apprehended
offender.

DVD special features include director's commentary, a second track teaming
Mr. Wimmer with producer Lucas Foster, and the behind-the-scenes
featurette "Finding Equilibrium." Unfairly ignored during its fleeting
theatrical release, "Equilibrium" should find a wider, more appreciative
audience in its homevid incarnation.




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