Science Fiction films will inevitably fade from our movie theatres in the exact same fashion as the Western has. It saddens me greatly to admit this. Some of my absolute favorite films have come from the fantastical genre, such as Star Wars, The Matrix, The Fifth Element, Alien, Aliens, Gattaca, Terminator 2: Judgement Day and most recently Sunshine and Children of Men (two great sci-fi films that unfortunately fumbled at the box office). But perhaps my statement is premature. I hope it is. Maybe James Cameron’s Avatar will revive the genre and inspire audiences to be wowed again. Until then, however, we’ll have to endure “independent Science Fiction”, which is a collection of words that I have yet to fully absorb but have willingly embraced all the same.

One of the best of these independent Science Fiction films is Kurt Wimmer’s apocalyptic-thriller Equilibrium. The best Science Fiction movies didn’t solely consist of spaceships, explosions and galactic (I can’t believe I’m using that word) action, but rather challenging and thought-provoking ideas. Yes, the action is a plus but it isn’t what science fiction is about. Science Fiction is about encouraging people to think, which is where Equilibrium greatly excels. It forces the audience to be contemplative, to ponder relevant issues and think outside of convenient ideas.

The film centers on Preston, a Gammatron Cleric, who’s sole duty is to eradicate all forms of art and music or rather anything that could provoke emotion. After a devastating third world war, what’s left of humanity inhabits a large city called Libria, where any form of emotion is suppressed by a daily drug. Failure to inject the drug will result in execution via fire chamber. But when Preston decides not to take the drug, he immediately becomes entangled in a complicated plot that changes the repressed society forever.

Christian Bale is one of my favorite actors. Every performance he’s ever given has been dedicated and intensely serious. In any other actor’s hand, the film wouldn’t have been as effective. Bale’s performance is key to keeping this film together. As an audience member, we are essentially in his shoes and we need to be able to know what he’s thinking. There wasn’t a moment in the film where I couldn’t tell what was on his mind. His performance is excellent as usual.

The supporting cast is good but nothing to really rave about. Taye Diggs and Emily Watson do the best they can but their roles aren’t particularly strong. The same goes for Sean Bean, who plays this short role very well and to the best of his abilities.

Any attention that the film garnered was purely for the action sequences and rightfully so. One thing I did not expect from the action scenes was originality and it was the first time in a long time that my mouth dropped after watching an action scene. The reaction I had to the second time Preston was forced to use his guns was the same reaction I had when I watched Neo dodge bullets in the original Matrix. The action is simply very creative, such as the last fight scene that plays out more like a gun-sword fight and although it could’ve easily failed, it ends up working unbelievably well. Anyone looking for something new in their action will find it in this film.

Equilibrium isn’t perfect. The film has its flaws but ultimately is a terrific addition to the Science Fiction genre. It’s a thought-provoking action picture and one of the better recent Science Fiction films released.

6 thoughts on “Equilibrium”

  1. This released around the same time as one of the Matrix sequels and for me personally was far more interesting and entertaining. However, one tends to find more haters it seems of the movie; good to see someone else who enjoyed it.

  2. Comparing Equilibrium and any of the three Matrix films won’t inherently lend itself to accurate conclusions outside of expressing a personal preference. The Matrix Trilogy is firmly rooted in the filmmaker’s desire to present a unified philosophical treatise from a contemporary cultural model. Equilibrium on the other hand focuses squarely on the role of emotion and creativity within a draconian POST-apocalyptic society. There are recurring references to the presence of literature and art as lending to criminal (emotional) behavior.

    I am a huge apologist for all of these films and I am met with equal parts skepticism for Matrix sequels and Equilibrium. But if you really want to draw comparisons between the Wachowski brothers and Equilibrium you are much better off to begin with V for Vendetta.

  3. Parrishupr – I’m viewing the movies not trying to play Frued on what the filmmakers intentions were and comparing them on some subliminal level, that’s not what 99% of Joe Average audiences give a crap about….Equilibrium was blatantly released to coincide with the release of one of the Matrix movies due to subtle similarities involved, did not say it had anything to do with plot or deep meaning.

  4. “Tread Softly for you are treading on my dreams”
    Best line ever in a movie. Equilibrium was four times the movie of the matrix and to even compare the two is a joke. Equilibrium had depth, it was more focused on a big brother element than a phantasy world of the future where we raise up in pods. Matrix was bad, aside from the action scenes, it tried to hard to be good which is why it got one star when it was released, but after it cashed in on box office gold reviewers changed their ratings, same way with Speed…Hmmmm

  5. Its a good sci-fi movie, but they try to hard to make good lines for the narrator in the beginning, Sean Bean\’s role as a grammaton cleric named Partridge is only for a short time but he does what he can with the role givin, Bale is the center of the film as Preston, Emily Watson is a intrest of preston, Watson plays a longer role than Bean, but not through the whole movie, Taye Diggs role is a up and comin cleric named Brandt. He becomes Prestons parnter after partridge is killed, the action scenes are fantastic, mind blowing stunts incredible gun fights, not a perfect movie but still a great addition to action movies, doesn\’t compare to the matrix as much as it\’s said to, Kurt Wimmer\’s written/directed movie is an a+

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