Movie Review: Equilibrium – The Coolest Dumb Movie (kinda like Pacific Rim)


Genre: Action/Sci-Fi

Director: Kurt Wimmer

Running Time: 107 Minutes

“But I, being poor, have only my dreams. I have spread my dreams under your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.”

– Partridge, Equilibrium


After a rather devastating third World War, a decision is made by the new totalitarian government, the Tetragrammaton Council (led by the enigmatic “Father”) to end human emotion. In doing so, they could ensure that no person ever felt strongly enough to ever cause the devastation and destruction on a World War scale ever again. Every man, woman and child is given daily dose of “Prozium”, which successfully supresses their emotions. All sensory material is outlawed, and anyone found with this contraband is killed and the material immediately incinerated. This creates a dull, grey, Spartan existence for all citizens.

A new class of enforcer is used to ensure that contraband is sought out and the offenders punished. John Preston (Christian Bale) is the best of these Clerics but after a series of events that leads to him missing a dose of his Prozium and feeling emotions for the first time. He now seeks to topple the establishment and uses the skills they have taught him to do so.

Performances & Special Effects

I can’t really comment on Sean Bean’s performance as he is killed quite early on but his character and his emotive recitation of Yeats sets the tone nicely for the movie that follows. Christian Bale is a well-established heavy weight in Hollywood. Like him or hate him, the man has talent and despite this films shortcomings, his artful portrayal of a man on the edge and at odds with himself and the only life he knows is a visceral experience.

I know it was made in 2002 but even so, the special effects were royally shit. The green screen/CGI dystopia was shoddily crafted and rather two-dimensional in nature. Explosions were sad and the set dressing cheap. I understand the Orwellian aesthetic the film makers were trying to achieve but even so, this left much to be desired. Then again, Equilibrium did “only” have a $20 million USD budget.

But that coat though…

The Review

I don’t know how it happened but until a few days ago, I had never seen this movie. Almost everyone I know has and they always spoke about it such appreciation. 17 year old me would have loved this movie in 2002 for the “fuck the establishment” sentiment and 1984 ideology, not to mention the awesome AF Cleric garb. 30 year old me in 2015 sat and watched this drivel and thought: “This is such a cool shit movie!”. I still love the Cleric “uniform” but the gun kata killed me. It is one of the dumbest things I have ever seen in modern film making. I loved how the movie took itself so seriously even though it was obviously bad.

It’s one of those movies that you know is righteously terrible but you have such fun watching it anyway. Honestly, I felt a little like my know-it-all, rebellious, idealist 17 year old self watching this and that made it all worth it!

My Rating: 3/5

Buy or rent Equilibrium on

You might like:

The Matrix

Minority Report

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