• 'Equilibrium' - Kurt Wimmer

last modified August 17, 2012 by strypey

by Danyl Strype

Here's a recipe for an enterntaining and thought-provoking movie. Begin with a distopian industrial vision reminiscent of Brazil, a society in which emotions and aesthetics are crimes punishable by summary immolation in an attempt to expunge passion, violence and war from humanity. Cream this with a patriarch known as Father whose image, like that of "Big Brother" in 1984, appears on massive screens everywhere and whose ruling council sets the rules to be enforced by the Tetragrammaton and its warrior-clerics. Stir in a cup of the compulsory sense-suppressing drug Prozium - the antithesis of Soma in Huxley's Brave New World - which is dispensed by a government department from which the movie takes its name.

Add the enforcer turned rebel motif of Bradbury's Farenheit 451 so that in the opening the lead character John Preston, a cleric of the Tetragrammaton, dispassionately executes his partner for "sensecrime" but later stops taking his Prozium and begins to sympathize with the resistance. Combine the kung fu and gun battles of The Matrix driven by the the clerics' coldly rational "gun katas" and enormous police batons containing samurai swords leading to bloody carnage à la Tarantino's Kill Bill. Blend with various ulraviolent confrontations in "the nethers" perhaps inspired by the PreCrime rampage through "the sprawl" in Minority Report. Finally, garnish with a few of the twisty plot points from Total Recall: just whose side is our anti-hero really on, who is on his side and is everyone as real as they appear to be?

Serve with a sweet sauce of under-stated special effects, chilling acting from Christian Bale as Preston, his children and other officials of the Tetragrammaton including Dominic Purcell as Seamus and the brilliantly contrasting performances by Emily Watson, Sean Bean, William Fichtner and others as "sense offenders." Eat while hot.

Originally published in Boheme Magazine (Jan-Feb, 2006)


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