In a post-WW3 world, Libria has been founded on peace. In Libria, there are no wars because citizens are devoid of feelings and urges of aggression, violence, greed, anger or jealousy. This is managed by the obligatory daily dose of the drug Prozium which prevents Librians from feeling any emotion, including passion, lust, love, joy…
In this war-free world, the only crime committed is “sense offense” as some of the citizens rebel against the regime and don’t take the drug. People aren’t allowed to keep anything colorful, personal, different-including art, books and furniture. Anything that can urge feelings…
Offenders are caught and killed. Their stuff is confiscated by the sweepers, armed forces enforcing the Father’s law, all in the name of “peace.” Outranking Sweepers are Clerics, men dedicated to further enforce the law. Clerics have been exceptionally trained in combat, whether it is with or without weapons.
And the best is John Preston Christian Bale), who despite the lack of feelings, has the ability to think like the criminals, making them all easy prey and the master of fighting skills. While he is a favorite because of these, he is also monitored very closely as he has failed to spot one sense offender, his wife.
However when an incident hits too close to home and coincidences end up Preston missing a dose, he gets a taste of what the offenders are fighting for. This confuses him, but he can’t help but continue feeling. But as Preston tries to cope with all of these new sensations and keep his feelings for a inprisoned offender (Emily Watson), he will have to pretend that he’s still the same Preston, hide the changes from his kids, his partner (Taye Diggs), Father’s representative (Angus Mcfadyen.) But how the hell can he do his job, which involves killing many people who are just guilty of wanting to feel?
Will he be able to rebel against a system he so loyally believed in? Will he be able, or have the guts to, try and demolish the system- especially when his latest official mission is to destroy the rebels completely?
Why Equilibrium Is a Must-See
Sorry for the long plot summary, but I needed you to envision the world of Libria, to fully engage you in the dilemma of John Preston. I purposefully didn’t include the trailer as it is misleading (as in the event(s) that lead him to rebel) and shows a bit too much, without covering an example of change in Preston’s attitude.
Christian Bale’s portrayal of John Preston is one of the things that make this movie.
While there are practically no twists (probably nothing you won’t see coming anyway) that the movie will use to entice its audience, it really doesn’t need to. Equilibrium gets its strength from how well the artificiality of the manufactured state is shown, how impressively the fight scenes were choreographed, Christian Bale’s character’s transition, the sufficient action scenes and how it is easy to identify with the rebels, and picture how hard it would be to adapt to a world like that, had we known what feeling was like before Libria…
It’s regime draws parallel to a regime we still see in a lot of countries, and it is a wonderful display of irony, hypocrisy of those in power, and the irony of using extreme violence to “protect” “the peace.”
It’s in a movie viewer’s nature to look for plot holes, or at least to naturally “detect” them when he/she is not captivated by the movie. I can’t help doing the same with movies that bore, annoy or fail to entertain me. However, when it comes to Equilibrium, I urge you to pay attention to the dialogue and the clues thrown around. The “popular plot holes” suggested by some viewers are actually incidents whose reasons are explained or implied.
Oh and if you need an addition to the cast, Sean Bean is in it.
This is the movie that made me a Christian Bale fan. Because it actually shows that he is not just into the projects that are considered indie and/or artsy, and/or including characters that are hard to (or impossible to) relate to. Equilibrium is a lot more mainstream than most of his films, shot before the Batman trilogy.
It is fast, emotional and relevant to our world. Written and directed by Kurt Wimmer (who I also became a fan of with this movie) in 2002. Currently rated at 7.6 on Imdb.com, I’d rate it higher.
Notes on the Director and Cast:
- Kurt Wimmer is also the writer/director of Salt (action film starring Angelina Jolie) and Law Abiding Citizen (an action/thriller starring Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx. He is also the inventor of the fighting style and “education” used in Equilibrium.
- Salt 2 is being shot and is also written by Wimmer.
- The movie also features the talented actor William Fichtner as the leader of the rebels.
- Angus MacFadyen is better known for his pivotal role in Braveheart, where he played Robert the Bruce, a nobleman who was torn between his faith in William Wallace (played by Mel Gibson) and his privileges.
Related Movie Suggestions
The Island starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson
Gattaca starring Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman and Jude Law