Reviewer's Rating 3 out of 5   User Rating 4 out of 5
Equilibrium (2003)

What a dumb, fun, curiously adolescent movie this is.

The premise is straight out of a 13-year-old's creative writing book: "What if, like, in a futuristic world, right, "feeling" was illegal!" Yep, it's that stupid.

But surrender to inherent idiocy and there's entertainment to be had.

The dystopian setting is Libria - a concrete jungle where a fascistic government maintains peace by eliminating anger, sorrow, joy, or love destroying all art and literature and issuing regular doses of a suppressant called Prozium (hang on, that sounds a bit like... Prozac! Genius).

Chief among the state enforcers is cleric John Preston (Christian Bale) - a highly-trained drone, prone to shooting anyone who shows the slightest sign of happiness, sadness, etc. God help you if you read poetry.

If they're not shot, then "sense offenders" are sent to be incinerated - a fate which befell Preston's wife years before, only he was too deadened and dedicated to care.

When he falls for Emily Watson's feisty rebel, however, he finally starts to see sense (badaboom!) and considers joining the resistance...

So, a repressive future world where a man rises from zero to hero with the help of chic black clothing and big guns, then... It's "The Matrix: Rehashed".

Well, yeah, but who cares? "Equilibrium" lifts from several genre classics - from "Metropolis" to "Brazil" - with the same unashamed zeal. If only other derivative flicks were this well-shot and cast.

Wimmer's script is occasionally laughable (the underground resistance is literally underground; Preston is finally shocked into full emotion by a cute, lil' puppy dog), but he's a keen visual stylist.

The grim cityscape impresses and the production design is striking. The adolescent attitude stretches to the frenetic, thunderous action sequences - which favour spectacle over sense to explosive effect.

All this and a Brian Conley cameo. What's not to love?

End Credits

Director: Kurt Wimmer

Writer: Kurt Wimmer

Stars: Christian Bale, Emily Watson, Taye Diggs, Sean Bean, Angus MacFadyen, William Fichtner, Matthew Harbour

Genre: Action, Science Fiction, Thriller

Length: 107 minutes

Cinema: 14 March 2003

Country: USA

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