By Drew Parton
This week, as I return home for Thanksgiving break, I watch the Christian Bale movie Equilibrium and give thanks for tits-awesome action.
In a dystopian world where the things that trigger emotion (such as Art and puppies) are outlawed in an attempt to end wars and maintain peace, the population of the world is kept emotionally neutral using a drug called Prozium. A militant police force called the Grammaton Clerics is tasked with upholding the totalitarian law. But when Christian Bale, the top Cleric misses a dose one day, he is exposed to a whole new spectrum of feelings. He then leads the resistance movement to topple the anti-emotional regime.
Let me just start out this by saying that this movie fucking rocks.
Sean Bean’s in this one too. So we all know what that means.
It easily has the coolest gun battles I have ever seen. They invented a whole new Gun psuedo-martial art for this movie- The Gun-Kata:
Bullshit. But cool bullshit.
The world does really feel cold and you as the audience suffer from the same disconnect as the characters do. It’s a little pretentious some times, but it actually has a nice theme that I think resonates well in this day and age: humanity is flawed and stupid and over-emotional, but it’s what makes us human. As the movie says:
“Look at me. I’m life. I live… I, I breathe… I feel. Now that you know it… can you really take it? Is it really worth the price?”
“I pay it gladly.”
The film didn’t do that well critically and bombed financially but has received a bit of a cult following for the well choreographed fight scenes and intense action. It’s narmy, but a lot of fun.
The film does have some good acting, though. Christian Bale is good as usual. He portrays the conflicted Preston pretty well given the sparse writing; it does come off as a little over-the-top some times, though.
But the best acting by far in the film is from the little kid who plays Preston’s son who is shaping himself to become a cleric like his father (though it is revealed that he has been skipping his doses of Prozium for a while).
He epitomizes the cold, soulless mindset of the future society. The way he instructs and questions his father- almost interrogating- really raises the tension in the film. Quite frankly, he’s creepy as hell.
On the flip side of the coin, it really gets old listening to Christian Bale’s pre-Batman gruff voice and Taye Digg’s increasingly annoying snarky snark (despite this supposedly being a world without emotion). They manage to kill the two good actors pretty early on in the film (Sean Bean and Emily Watson) so all that’s really left worth watching are the fight scenes.
One thing I really do like about the film’s plot is the sort of interesting twist. Preston thinks that he is helping the resistance but in reality he just kind of fucks it up and gets the leaders of the freedom fighters killed.
He of course then makes up for it by single-handedly storming the capital and killing everyone inside:
Overall, I’d recommend the movie, it’s narmy, cheesy, and a little hard to take seriously at times, but the action is incredible and really it’s a very fun movie to sit down and watch with friends. It relies entirely on the Rule of Cool and doesn’t give a shit otherwise: Yes, those are fully-automatic Desert Eagles and his wrists should have snapped. Yes those guys wear motorcycle helmets and trenchcoats all the time inexplicably. But it doesn’t matter because Christian Bale just killed 53 people in that above clip.
Next week I’m going to watch a foreign film:
the recent Takeshi Miike period film
13 Assassins and
discuss feudal Japanese Samurai philosophy.
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