Equilibrium - Review - BBC
What a dumb, fun, curiously adolescent movie this is.
The premise is straight out of a 13-year-old's
creative writing book: "What if, like,
in a futuristic world, right, "feeling" was illegal!" Yep, it's that stupid.
But surrender to inherent idiocy and there's entertainment to be had.
The dystopian setting is Libria - a concrete
jungle where a fascistic government
maintains peace by eliminating anger, sorrow, joy, or love destroying all art and
literature and issuing regular doses of a suppressant called Prozium (hang on,
that sounds a bit like... Prozac! Genius).
Chief among the state enforcers is cleric
John Preston (Christian Bale) -
a highly-trained drone, prone to shooting anyone who shows the slightest sign
of happiness, sadness, etc. God help you if you read poetry.
If they're not shot, then "sense
offenders" are sent to be incinerated - a fate
which befell Preston's wife years before, only he was too deadened and
dedicated to care.
When he falls for Emily Watson's feisty
rebel, however, he finally starts to
see sense (badaboom!) and considers joining the resistance...
So, a repressive future world where a
man rises from zero to hero with the
help of chic black clothing and big guns, then... It's "The Matrix: Rehashed".
Well, yeah, but who cares? "Equilibrium"
lifts from several genre classics -
from "Metropolis" to "Brazil" - with the same unashamed zeal. If only other
derivative flicks were this well-shot and cast.
Wimmer's script is occasionally laughable
(the underground resistance is literally
underground; Preston is finally shocked into full emotion by a cute, lil' puppy
dog), but he's a keen visual stylist.
The grim cityscape impresses and the production
design is striking. The adolescent
attitude stretches to the frenetic, thunderous action sequences - which favour
spectacle over sense to explosive effect.
All this and a Brian Conley cameo. What's not to love?
"Equilibrium" opens in UK cinemas
on Friday 14th March 2003.