Every so often, certain films just do something to my brain that has long lasting effects and resonates with me for many years. Unfortunately, they are not always big Hollywood box office winners and are often overlooked. Equilibrium was one such movie. In a sea of really bad stories with overblown CGI effects, Equilibrium was (and still is) a standout flick with a healthy balance of fantasy and reality peppered with parallels of modern society and echoes of history.
The central character, John Preston (an amazing pre-Dark Knight performance by Christian Bale), is a high-ranking “Grammaton Cleric”, a person tasked to enforce the laws of the futuristic (and fictional) nation of Libria which have banned all forms of entertainment that invoke emotional responses (it is important to note that not only are Clerics armed with weaponry, they are also highly trained in advanced martial arts). The citizens of Libria are forced to take medicinal injections (Prozium) to suppress ANY emotions, and “Sense Offenders”, or those who refuse their injections and attempt to hoard and indulge in banned material, are to be punished on site (this usually means death). Initially, John Preston is presented as a genuine Cleric, but as the film progresses, he is revealed to have flaws that allow his emotions to seep through and affect his judgment and rationalization. Eventually, the film presents a struggle between duty and justice and leads to an epic finale – but you’ll get no spoilers here.
Regardless of any review sites and their personal ratings, I urge you to watch this film. Though it is 12 years old, it has severe relevance to our world climate, both past and present. It plays out like high end pulp fiction, but really holds a mirror up to us and makes us aware of the level of control and censorship our governments actually have over us (this is NOT an anarchist statement or endorsement, so take it at face value). Aside from the political viewpoints infused in the script, the action is top notch ,and the special effects are kept very close to a realistic possibility. If you’re in the market for something different and want to have your eyes opened a little, Equilibrium should be your next choice.