Equilibrium (2002)


If I was to explain this movie to someone in one sentence it would be this: “George Orwell meets John Woo”. I thought about Orwell he’d probably approve of this film. The center for which all the soldiers come from is called “Equilibrium” or balance as it is layman’s terms; they’re all injected with an opium drug that they carry that numbs their emotions and sense of guilt while they’re controlled by the heavily armed heavily secure government facility. Paired with incredible direction and writing by Kurt Wimmer and sleek stylish cinematography by Dion Beebe, we’re given a glimpse into a world that’s still imperfect despite it being under control.

In a society now completely void of emotion, heavily armed guards patrol the streets with the use of their skilled warriors called the Grammaton Clericks, a band of sleek swift emotionless soldiers who can take on a horde of rebels without breaking a sweat. Their best soldier is Sean Preston, an emotionless professional and violent soldier who one day remembers his wife whom he betrayed to be killed for feeling and now his memories begin flooding back as well with his emotions after he betrays his partner Partridge (Sean Bean) who he discovered with a book. Now, as his memories come back and emotions emerge, he must keep his emotions in tact while attempting to help the rebels and stay one step ahead of his eager young partner Brandt (Taye Diggs) a soldier almost equal in skill and abilities who is anxious to discover his secret and further his own career.

The soldiers sit in a stadium where they’re fed messages from the high father who watches over Libria, and everyone is monitored for emotions ala “1984.” Those found with contraband including books, records, literature or art are killed and then the contraband is properly burned ala “Farenheit 451”. It’s obvious by looking at the facility that the government doesn’t have much faith in their process as they watch everyone, including their best soldier Preston. He himself is plagued with traces of emotions and his haunting memory of selling his wife out to the authorities causing her death all the while hiding his emotions from his colleagues and his young son who is also being tailored as a clerick and watches him like a hawk as well. Christian Bale portrays a warrior without emotion, a warrior who kills without mercy and then must slowly progress into a man who’s emotions are slowly coming back to him and express his realization towards those emotions, and Bale handles it with impressive range and incredible depth.

Diggs play well against Preston as his rival constantly monitoring him and attempting to outdo him while Preston must stay one step ahead of him in his struggle with his emotions. There are many memorable scenes in the film, some utterly fantastic, and some fantastic for being so simple. Wimmer, obviously a martial arts movie buff creates some incredible and stylistic action sequences with the help of some truly good direction and choreography that make for some of the best scenes in the film. There are some incredible action scenes, and much swordplay as well as much gunplay and maneuvers that are satisfying fodder the film. “Equilibrium” a fantastic action science fiction entry, with excellent direction by Kurt Wimmer that channels the themes of George Orwell and the action of John Woo wonderfully.