Equilibrium - The Story

Last Update: 21 November 2000

Source: Film Force (IGN)

Librium takes place in an undetermined future where North America has become the
vast citadel realm known as "Libria." Somewhere along the line, people saw how
unguarded emotions led to horrors like war and crime. In order to eradicate these
social ills, the citizenry have agreed to be doped to the gills every day on the
real-life drug librium.

In this bleak future, nearly everyone is sedated with librium, virtually nullifying
their emotions (they act something like Vulcans); they don't even touch each other
affectionately. Librium has apparently made society more content, peaceful, and
productive. But in return for complacency, citizens have forsaken their basic
freedoms and become the willing subjects of a fascist, cult-like government. The
leader of Libria is the never seen, omniscient, and totally emotionless "Father."
Like that song says about Elvis, Father is everywhere.

Those who sin by not taking their librium are known as "sense offenders." They
also violate Father's dogma by hoarding works of art, personal mementos, and
even puppies (anything that might prompt an emotional response). Sense offenders
live primarily outside the citadel in a deserted suburbia called The Zone; some
people who live within the Citadel try to fake being on librium but it is a death
sentence if they're caught.

A group of sense offenders, led by the enigmatic Jurgen, have organized a
resistance movement to destroy Father and his government. But Father won't be
toppled easily. He is protected by a sort of Jedi Knight/Judge Dredd security force
known as the Grammaton Clerics, physically superior fighters who are trained in
the "intuitive arts." The clerics use their gifts for perception (and a whole lot of
firepower) to weed out, arrest, and often exterminate sense offenders.

The most feared cleric is John Preston (Christian Bale), a widowed father of two
young children. Preston is a stone cold lawman and a righteous believer in Father's
rule; he strictly upholds the laws of Libria and doesn't display a hint of emotion
when reminded that his wife was executed by the clerics for refusing to take her
dosage.

Preston is the protégé of Vice Council DuPont, Father's right hand man and a
powerful Grammaton Cleric himself. Preston's icy resolve begins to thaw soon after
he discovers that his partner Partridge (Sean Bean) has stopped using librium;
Preston must then execute him.

Later, Preston accidentally breaks his own vial of librium and then mysteriously
skips out of a distribution center before getting his replacement dosage. Like a
junkie who is detoxifying, Preston is overwhelmed by a rush of sensations; for
perhaps the first time in his life, John is experiencing true emotion - and he seems
to like it.

Although determined to keep his new cold turkey status a secret, John suffers a
crisis of conscience that causes him to break his composure publicly more than once.
Will Preston turn his back on his beliefs and on the law, or will he succumb to his
newfound humanity and confront Father?

Forcing John towards the latter decision is his private investigation of his dead
partner's relationship with Mary (Emily Watson), a mysterious and alluring sense
offender who is condemned to die. Preston soon discovers ties between Mary,
Partridge, and Jurgen's resistance movement.

Preston agrees to aid the resistance's coup de grace while also striving to mask
his increasing emotionality from his new (and very patriotic) partner Brandt
(Taye Diggs).

 

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