Sunday, November 7, 2021


Movie Name:
Year of Release: 2002
Director: Kurt Wimmer
Starring: Christian Bale, Emily Watson, Sean Bean, Angus Macfayden, Sean Pertwee, Taye Diggs, Dominic Purcell, William Fichtner, Christian Kahrmann, Matthew Harbour, John Keogh
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 3
Watch it on Amazon

Synopsis and Review:
Writer/Director Kurt Wimmer made a name for himself as a screenwriter, tackling big budget films such as Barry Levinson's "Sphere" and John McTiernan's "The Thomas Crown Affair", before bringing his original script for "Equilibrium" to the screen. The film, which takes place in the future, in a city-state by the name of Libria, follows events that take place after a World War III nearly destroyed the planet. In the society formed in its aftermath, all human emotions are forbidden. Those who violate those mandates, are sentenced to death. In order to keep everyone in check, the population is forced to take a daily injection which suppresses those emotions. A Council, led by this figure named "Father", runs the authority and the city-state, and one of his tools to control the population is law enforcement, where Clerics sit at the highest level of that structure. There is an underground faction trying to bring this authoritarian despot down. John Preston who is a high-ranking cleric, and whose wife was executed years ago, misses one of his daily injections and memories from his past start permeating and stirring up emotions. He intentionally starts skipping more doses, and soon finds himself trying to located the Underground movement, with the intent to make the powers to be responsible for the loss he has had in his own life.
Kurt Wimmer who has gone on to write some interesting screenplays for other filmmakers, including for instance Phillip Noyce's "Salt", has an interesting premise at hand, one that has some ties with George Orwell's "1984", in terms of how he defines the oppressive government at hand, and how it controls every aspect of that society and the effect that it has on the general population (and the resistance at hand). However, whereas George Orwell managed to craft and bring to life the lead characters of his narrative, Kurt Wimmer introduces his lead hero, John Preston, as someone who works and operates within the system, but who slowly realizes how nefarious and destructive it is, particularly as he stops taking the controlling drugs which pervade every day life. While Wimmer manages to depict and construct the city-state and its structure fairly well, the characters in it are fairly rough sketches, with barely any definition. John Preston's evolution from strict believer to fighter for the resistance is unsurprising, but the way some characters are introduced and poorly developed is one of the main issues with the film itself. Emily Watson's Mary, briefly appears, and turns out, she has very little to do, the same going for Taye Diggs' Brandt and even the main antagonist, personified by Angus Macfayden, who portrays the vice counsel DuPont. Preston's family life is never truly expanded upon, and neither are the goals of the villainous vice counsel, or his right hand assistant, personified by Brandt. It's a film that has a fair amount of promise, but fails in building a sense of motivation for its leads, and also menace or dread from its villains, since it essentially reduces all characters to cliches without much freshness or uniqueness. The actual saving grace for the film lies with its cast, which includes the always phenomenal Christian Bale and the perpetually underrated Emily Watson. The cinematography from the fantastic Dion Beebe is impeccable as is the production design from Wolf Kroeger and costumes from Joseph Porro. A promising, but ultimately forgettable film.