Equilibrium – Review

20 Jun

If you were to put George Orwell’s 1984The Matrix, and Minority Report sprinkled with a hint of Gattaca, your end product would look something like Equilibrium. Kurt Wimmer’s dystopian science fiction movie is definitely a mash up of other science fiction and that leaves a question to be answered: Is Equilibrium an homage to classic science fiction, or is blatantly ripping others off. Either way you look at it, there is a lot of fun to be had with this movie, even though I can’t see it being put on anyone’s list of best science fiction films of all time.


John Preston (Christian Bale) is a Grammaton Cleric, whose main job is to find and exterminate “sense offenders.” What is a sense offender? Well, after World War III, a new drug called Prozium was created which blocks any sort of emotion, and soon became mandatory. Sense offenders are the few that decide it is not the right way to live. One day, Preston accidentally breaks the vial holding his Prozium and begins to feel emotion. An even bigger problem is that he really enjoys it. An even worse problem is that he is the most revered Grammaton Cleric. He immediately begins questioning his government and his own role in rounding up people who desire a life full of emotion, which sturs up suspicion with his partner Brandt (Taye Diggs).

The first thing that I need to talk about is the outstanding style that Wimmer has packed Equilibrium with. The cinematography by Academy Award winner Dion Bebee is out of this world. The future is dark and ominous with splashes of hard light that makes for awesome looking action scenes. And speaking of action, Wimmer created a style of gunfighting/martial arts called Gun Kata, which is reminiscent to the style of fighting seen in The Matrix, but with its own original twist to it. The scenes featuring Gun Kata are absolutely awesome and memorably shot.


Style aside, the story of Equilibrium really isn’t anything spectacular. Like I said before, it is very reminiscent of an Orwellian future that has been seen countless times. The inability to feel and lack of human emotion is a favorite for dystopian science fiction authors and film makers, although it isn’t quite as overt as it is in Equilibrium. Looking at this movie as an homage to older science fiction, it certainly does its job well. If you were to look at it as a lazy piece of writing, than it’s pretty glaring. This forces the viewer to take it as they will, and this will highly affect your opinion on the movie. Personally, I feel like there’s too much creativity in other parts of the movie to make it lazy enough to be a rip off.

Unfortunately, this movie does suffer from style over substance. Many people heavily compare this movie to The Matrix, which is rightfully so. From the clothes to the Gun Kata, there are certain similarities, but The Matrix doesn’t suffer from style over substance. Part of what makes The Matrix such a classic is the Wachowski’s abilities to make it heavily stylized but deep in every other possible way. Equilibrium looks nice, but it doesn;t really make the viewer think too hard, which is important for science fiction.



Taking two hours out of your day to watch Equilibrium is something that I would recommend. It isn’t going to be a classic science fiction film, nor is it a thought provoking trip into a possible future, but it does promise a lot of fun. The action is top notch and the movie itself is gorgeous to look at. Give it a watch before you judge it. It’s pretty fun.

3 Responses to “Equilibrium – Review”

  1. Mack June 20, 2013 at 6:46 pm #

    I always felt the slight emphasis on style over content (or form over function, if you will) did quite well suit the setting of the film. In a manner of speaking, a lot of the human content is removed in order to preserve the human form. Obviously within a setting of “ideology putting science to use”, but still. As such I did not find it getting in the way of the film making me think.

    The theme of power being excempt, feeding off the pyramid, that unfortunately is so ingrained in human behaviour that it cannot be avoided to have this present as part of the setting.

    What I remember thinking about when first watching the film, was a sense of puzzle. Why the emphasis on removal of emotion as instrument of social and economic organisation, when it would be comparatively easier to create a system that feeds off establishing boundaries to the use of emotion (in many ways, that is what we are doing in our modern times). It made me consider the possibility that within its fictional universe, something absolutely excessive must have happened to not even make use of such instrument in spite of how human society benefits economically from it. Curious.

    But you’re right, there is a lot of creativity in this film. It’s always surprised me to not see some sort of creative spinoff from it. Not necessarily in film, but more so in writing and publishing. Or, also possible, I have missed it.

  2. Joachim Boaz June 22, 2013 at 6:29 am #

    …but without the soul of those other films. This is an emotionally empty hulk of a film all dressed up in special effects but ultimately blank as a board. hehe

    • myworldvsthemovies June 22, 2013 at 3:21 pm #

      thats exactly how i feel. it was pretty to look at and provided some mindless entertainment, but beyond that there was nothing really going for it.

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