Christian Bale as John Preston
Emily Watson as Mary
Taye Diggs as Brandt
Angus MacFadyen as DuPont
Sean Bean as Partridge
David Hemmings as Proctor
Matthew Harbour as Robbie Preston
William Fichtner as Jurgen
Dominic Purcell as Seamus
Maria Pia Calzone as Preston’s Wife
Emily Siewert as Lisa Preston
Alexa Summer as Viviana Preston
Feature Commentary with Director Kurt Wimmer
Feature Commentary with Director Kurt Wimmer and Producer Lucas Foster
Widescreen (2.35:1) – Enhanced for 16×9 Televisions
English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Running Time: 107 Minutes
In the future, after World War III, mankind is willing to do anything it takes to eliminate war and have lasting peace. They decide that the source of war is hate, anger, and fear. In other words, human emotions. The only way to bring peace is to eliminate human emotions. Under the guidance of a new, fascist government, the population is controlled by removing anything that induces human emotion. This is accomplished through brainwashing, drugs, and the elimination of art, music, and literature. A special police force enforces these restrictions.
John Preston is the top man, or cleric, in this organization. He conducts his bloody job with remorseless efficiency. He is so dedicated to his cause that he allowed his wife to be executed for feeling emotions. He even kills his partner for breaking the law and reading poetry. But when Proctor accidentally gets off his mind-altering medications, he begins feeling human emotions again. It doesn’t take him long to discover a whole new world and a new meaning in life. But how long can he hide his true emotions before his new partner, Brandt, notices and turns him in?
“Equilibrium” is rated R for violence.
“Equilibrium” hit theaters late in 2002 and rather quickly disappeared. Despite good reviews, not many people saw it (myself included). That’s really too bad because it really is a pretty good movie. Fans of action films or sci-fi will really get a kick out of it. It’s very much a cross between “1984”, “Gattaca”, and “The Matrix”.
The cast is truly excellent. We already knew Christian Bale was a great actor, but in this movie he proves that he can be a great action star, too. Bale’s performance goes over the whole range. He starts out emotionless and by the end exhibits joy, sadness, and rage. His transformation makes the ending, which is very reminiscent of “The Matrix”, all the more powerful. Taye Diggs holds his own as Preston’s partner Brandt. The two have a couple of good fight scenes together. Emily Watson delivers a good performance as Mary. Her character is very used to putting on an emotionless front, yet occasionally her true emotions boil to the surface and explode. When she erupts, watch out. Sean Bean also has a brief, but powerful cameo as Partridge. I certainly would have liked to see more of him in this movie.
You have to be rather patient for the action scenes. There’s a brief opening gun battle in the dark at the beginning, then a couple of short gunfights in the middle. Things don’t really kick in until the finale. If you’re patient enough to sit through the quiet, dramatic, emotional scenes, you may find yourself rewarded. This movie is more “1984” than Matrix, but it has something for everyone.
This DVD has a minimum number of special features:
Feature Commentary with Director Kurt Wimmer – Wimmer provides an interesting and energetic commentary to the DVD. He seems to talk pretty much continuously through the film. Student filmmakers will want to listen to the commentary since Wimmer speaks extensively about working with a low budget, filming tricks, and more. Wimmer also wrote the film, so he discusses a lot about the story, the underlying themes, and more. It’s a pretty good commentary worth listening to.
Feature Commentary with Director Kurt Wimmer and Producer Lucas Foster – Wimmer returns for a second commentary track, this time with the producer. It’s slightly redundant if you listened to the first one and Foster doesn’t seem to add a whole lot more to the discussion. They speak a lot about the filming process, technical issues, and other production issues.
Finding Equilibrium – This is a short 5-minute behind the scenes piece on the making of the movie. It’s a bit too brief for my tastes, but it does show a lot of Christian Bale, Taye Diggs, and the other cast members. It’s kind of funny to hear Bale speaking with his British accent after hearing him with an American one throughout the film.
The Bottom Line:
This is one you’ll want to check out if you enjoy action or sci-fi films. Christian Bale fans will also be really pleased. “Equilibrium” would definitely make a good renter.