Movie Review: Equilibrium (Five Stars – kicked ass)
I just finished watching the movie Equilibrium and I have to say WOW. It claims to kick the matrix’s ass and holy shit does it ever. Now I did like the matrix, but this one I liked more I think, and ironicially enough, I think I like it for the same reasons I liked the original Matrix. It came out of nowhere, I hadn’t really seen much about it, and it ended up surpassing my expectations. It also didn’t have anyone in it. No big names anyway, a couple of players of bit parts here and there (the biggest being either the guy who plays John Doe or the guy who played Boromir in Lord of the Rings, both of whom were not in it for very long).
I remember hearing about this movie…. six months? A year ago? Something like that, and thinking “that sounds really really cool,” but then nothing really came of it. I then saw it while in the video store the other day and was reminded about it. I managed to get my hands on a copy and I must say, this is going to be a purchase soon.
No one seems to really be talking about this movie, so I hope to spread the word on how good it is!
The movie is a sci-fi mix of 1984, The Matrix, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Fahrenheit 451, and A Brave New World all rolled into one (oh, and a bit of Vulcan philosophy in there as well). Read on for a review and possible (but not intended) spoilers.
The gist of the movie is that the cause of the pain and heartache, and war, and violence, and all the other bad stuff in the world is emotion, and therefor, it must be suppressed. In this Orwellian future everyone takes emotion suppressants, the city (world?) is under military law, and anyone caught with contraband, or accused of “sense crimes” is liable to be executed on the spot, or taken back to “The Palace of Justice” for execution via incineration.
The police forces (looking very black and mostly like modern versions of the SS) are helped out by the Elite ass kickers, called the Clerics, who can go in and clear out a room full of armed aggressors with a pistol or two, without breaking a sweat. Perfect calmness and lack of emotion as well as being trained in “gunkata” are what they use. Gunkata sounds pretty silly IMHO, but it’s the art of using statistics in gun battles, wherein a practicer of gunkata can know statistically where his opponants will be firing, and using practiced moves based on the geometry of those statistics… well, kick ass. It ends up meaning really that you get some absolutely awsome gun battles.
Anyway, the most elite of the elite accidently forgets to take his emotion suppressant, starts to “feel”, and eventually you see (again) why you never ever train a soldier so powerful that you can’t stop him if he decides to come after you. The story is moderately predictable, but good enough that I was on the edge as to what was going to happen, or how easily something would work out, or if it was going to be a classic tragic story or not. I won’t spoil the ending though.
There wasn’t a lot of fighting, unlike another movie I could mention. There was a lot of tense moments, and examination of the world that the story takes place in, with the kick ass fight scenes topping things off perfectly. Even the world described I thought was fascinating. Somewhere in the not too distant future, with giant billboards proclaiming 24 hours a day lists of contraband merchandise, why “Father” is so good, what the causes of evil and war are, how great everyone is to be following this path, and how emotion must be stamped out. People sit in perfect rows with heavily armed guards in black face masks and heavy machine guns wander through their ranks, children ask if they should report on a friend they saw crying (“of course, it’s the law”) and you get a very good feel of what the world might have been like if Hitler had won, with children turning their parents in and order being kept simply because of the threat of immediate, lethal force should you do anything that could even be percieved as wrong.
The movie was a bit disturbing in parts, but in a good way I thought. Not “good” good, but good as in it really made the movie. Seeing how people lived in complete blandness, pure white cars, grey walls all around them, stopping on the streets all at the same time to shoot up with their emotional suppressant all at the same time…. people being identified and pulled off the street (presumably not for a mayoral medal) after being pointed out…. A great, dark movie.
So if you haven’t gotten it already, this movie kicked ass and is a must rent/buy/download for most who would read this, or read this far anyway…