March 19th, 2003


Equilibrium review

I have a penchant for ridiculous action movies. Anything that has people flying through the air while wielding a gun in each hand is fine by me. The mere sound of a group of people unsheathing their swords causes my brain to release endorphins. The notion of a post-apocalyptic society which trains their enforcers in both gun-antics and swordplay is liable to leave my higher brain functions disconnected. Throw in the 'plot twist' of "The most skilled enforcer turns against his masters and takes on insurmountable odds in the name of freedom." and I'm not worth talking to for at least a week.

Of course, not everyone feels that way - I saw at least two one-star reviews which complained that the film was basically Farenheit 451 crossed with The Matrix. As someone who loved both of those, I'm happy to say I agree fully. I do think that hating a film because it's not as good as a book that the vast majority of the audience won't ever read is ridiculous. Especially when it's a film that actually attempts to engage its audience, provoke a little thought and might even cause people to go in search of the source material.

The basic premise is that following World War 3 the survivors decided that in order to prevent war from ever recurring they would have to remove their negative emotions. The reduction of all emotion was seen as a price worth paying. Outside of the rebuilt city zones, "sense offenders" hoard works of art and other emotion-causing artefacts while a religious-themes elite force (called Clerics) of the state try to track them down and destroy them. Christian Bale plays the most unyielding of the clerics until one day something happens to make him see that there might be more to life...

The films looks fantastic. Which isn't to say it's all smooth curves and black leather (a la Matrix); it knows it doesn't have the budget for that kind of shennanigans and anyway, the premise of the film is that the populace don't care for sensuality. Instead, it goes for a very blank, black and white minimalism. Everything looks like a block of flats that's been given a whitewash and then Feng-Shuid to death.

The cast are uniformly impressive and of surprisingly high calibre - Emily Watson, Christian Bale, Sean Bean, Angus McFadyen, Sean Pertwee, William Fichtner and Taye Diggs. The cinematography is all well put together and the choreography is superb (personally, I think the lobby gunfight is superior to the one in The Matrix).

Not the best film I've ever seen, but certainly the most intelligent and best shot action movie I've seen in the last few years.


Partridge: But I being poor have only my dreams. I have spread my dreams under your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
Brandt: Cleric, I can only hope one day to be as uncompromising as you.


Just wondering - how many of you keep up with LJ developments?

Does anyone else read the "news" community, lj_maintenance or lj_biz?