January 25, 2016 at 12:44 am (8 Heads, Equilibrium) (, , , , )

Equilibrium – 2002 – United States

After the apocalyptic World War 3, society is governed by the totalitarian Tetragrammaton. To control mankind’s destructive impulses and prevent war, people are subjected to mandatory injections of emotion suppressing drugs. Displays of emotion and personal expression are punishable by death.

John Preston is a Cleric—an enforcer who dresses like a priest and practices a firearm-based martial art called Gun Kata. After inadvertently missing his required dose of drugs, John discovers emotion and is enthralled. He neglects his Clerical duties, sympathizes with “sense offenders”, and collects forbidden art and literature. Eventually he falls in love and joins some rebels to destroy the Tetragrammaton.

Equilibrium draws from the novel 1984 in its depiction of a drab future where people are manipulated by a paranoid totalitarian regime. Equilibrium draws from the novel Brave New World in its depiction of a society controlled by opiates. Equilibrium draws from the novel Fahrenheit 451 in its depiction of a campaign to destroy art and literature. Equilibrium draws from the film The Matrix in its depiction of impossibly acrobatic gunplay and dudes dressed in black overcoats.

Equilibrium is not very original or subtle, but it works well. The heavy-handed plot advances rapidly to its climax where the hero kills the dictator in one-on-one combat. The numerous plot twists and double crosses offer some (implausible) surprises. Christian Bale is convincing as the stoic hero, and his melodramatic dialogue is occasionally poetic. And the kinetic martial arts gunfights are impressive. A common scene involves the hero encircled by enemies and effortlessly killing them.

Rating: 8/10 Shrunken Heads. Tetragrammaton (sometimes pronounced Yahweh) is a Hebrew name for the god of the Israelites. This fact has little bearing on Equilibrium.

236 people are shown being killed in Equilibrium. That is 1 person every 27 seconds.


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