the fresh films reviews

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Equilibrium (2002)

Kurt Wimmer
Drama/Sci Fi
107 minutes
Jan de Bont
Lucas Foster
Kurt Wimmer

Cast includes:

John Preston Christian Bale ½
Errol Partridge Sean Bean
Jürgen William Fichtner ½
Dupont Angus MacFayden ½
Brandt Taye Diggs
Mary O'Brien Emily Watson ½



1984 meets The Matrix in this futuristic pop-action film about a society in which war and suffering has been eradicated by a government, led by the idealistic Father, forcing people to repress their ability to feel. Bale is Father's ultimate puppet, due to his unparalleled ability to detect sense offenders - people who have refrained from taking their doses. Writer/director Kurt Wimmer has some interesting ideas surfacing, and he captures some fine scenes, but the scenarios he presents is both incomplete and somewhat irrelevant. Incomplete because of the exclusively urban perspective we meet – a society that seems to comprise of only the resistance and the enforcers making the world of Libria hard to identify with. The traditional minimalistic and cold sets are inevitable for the sub-genre, but the lack the attention to detail deprives the film of the ability to get under our skin. And irrelevant due to the fact that increased individual freedom and increased human diversity has been the worldwide tendency for quite some time. In George Orwell's cold-war era, at a time when regimes close to the one described in Equilibrium were actually existent (ie the DDR), a prophecy such as this - and such as 1984 - was much more relevant.

Still, Equilibrium has its qualities, mostly concerning the spectre of human emotion, and how we relate to our ability to feel - how it makes us who we are. Christian Bale is Wimmer's much used instrument, and his expressive face is enchanting, but his performance here still remains somewhat shallow throughout. He pinned down most of what he tries to do here much better with his role as Patrick Bateman two years earlier. And even though he may be able to keep Equilibrium engaging for most of its running time, the film loses much of its integrity as an idealistic discussion when it becomes increasingly apparent that Wimmer solves any challenging plot situation with elevating his protagonist to an unbeatable, computer-generated ballet-dancing killer that has The Matrix worship written too obviously all over him. I can be partial to appreciating style over substance, but not style as replicated and unoriginal as that of the action sequences in Equilibrium.

Copyright © 29.7.2007 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang