on May 5, 2013
Un film inoubliable par la qualité de son scénario, par la qualité de l'image (superbe), par la qualité du son (superbe), une musique qui colle si bien à toutes les situations qu'elle accompagne tout naturellement les mouvements, les non-dits et les sentiments, par les couleurs sombres, par les décors coupés au carré, dans un futur noir où règne une dictature stalinienne qui interdit les sentiments, les livres, l'art et tout ce qui peut provoquer l'émotion qui a été déclaré "offense" un crime puni de mort. Ça fait froid dans le dos. Effrayant mais en même temps romantique à souhait, dans une sorte de désespérance puis d'espoir, ce qui nous fait oublier la grande violence de certaines scènes.
Christian Bale nous fait là une époustouflante démonstration de son talent, il est prodigieux.
Les scènes de combat sont remarquablement menées de main de maître, avec la précision d'une horlogerie suisse, et le suspense est au rendez-vous. A acheter quand on aime la science-fiction et l'évasion dans le futur et dans un monde virtuel, qui reste malgré tout, profondément humain.
on June 20, 2003
Borrowing from, perhaps, every science fiction or related genre films (FAHRENHEIT 451's censorship, 1984's Big Brotherism, BLADE RUNNER's search for truth, THX 1138's outlaw of emotion, THE MATRIX's kinetic action, the ZATOICHI series of samurai films, LOGAN'S RUN awakening Sandman themes, and even DEMOLITION MAN's brainwashed hero / antihero), EQUILIBRIUM never quite finds the perfect balance in the mix of sociopolitical themes ... but it sure boasts an impressive performance by Christian Bale as the emotion-killer 'Cleric' who slowly discovers his feelings, only to find survival and salvation in once again tossing emotions aside.
Think DANGEROUS LIAISONS. In the future. Dressed all in black. With guns.
In this cautionary tale of the near-future, emotion -- the source of all things human -- has been outlawed. Those found exploring their emotions are destroyed, burned to death in chambers of unforgiving stone and steel. Still, the lack of emotion occasionally hampers a story almost crying out to be told by Bale's John Preston. The few reserved smiles he shares whilst finding the humanity buried deep within himself are barely enough to keep one's interest. Those who make the trip, however, are rewarded with a crescendo by newcomer Bale. Easily, he makes the most of heavily-choreographed revolutionist climax.
While the film's dueling guns philosophy (gunkata?) feels occasionally out of place in a world denied emotion, the writer/director keeps tipping his story back and forth between the more interesting elements (emotional discovery in human expressions, the nature of relationships in a world turned cold, etc.) and the less interesting, predictable instances (long-held camera shots of Librium, the city, and the seemingly endless march of its hypnotized citizenry). Photographed in dark hues, some of the images symbolizing emotional discovery -- a rainbow over the dark city, the smile of Preston's young son, the glimmer of a puppies eyes -- are almost swallowed whole by the film. The resonant as best the can in a world meant for robots.
All in all, EQUILIBRIUM is not a bad film, even measured as derivative of some of the finer films mentioned above. The pacing is a bit uneven, but Bale manages to keep the viewer's interest. The texture is overwhelming, but the constant search for hints of emotion on John Preston's face lift the story above the ordinary. What's frustrating is the film it could have been ... had it found better balance.
on May 17, 2003
The distributor for ï¿½Equilibriumï¿½, a modestly budgeted sci-fi thriller, had so little faith in it that it placed the film in just a few theaters in December, then let it die. One reason may be the title itself. In restaurants, some people are afraid to order a dish they canï¿½t pronounce. These same people tend to avoid movies whose titles they canï¿½t spell, pronounce and/or understand. Beyond that, ï¿½Equilibriumï¿½ was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Two other recent thrillers ï¿½ ï¿½AI: Artificial Intelligenceï¿½ and ï¿½Minority Reportï¿½ ï¿½ had already painted much richer and more elaborate portraits of life in the future. Finally, unlike other small sci-fi flicks like ï¿½Gattacaï¿½, ï¿½Equilibriumï¿½ unwisely uses too much energy on special effects and not enough on the story, which might have been interesting if it hadnï¿½t been overwhelmed.
In this vision of the future, a third world war has resulted in a totalitarian society where all material things which cause people to feel emotion have been banned. People are also medicated daily to prevent them from feeling the anger and frustration which the government claims leads to war. Anyone who resists is dealt with immediately and harshly. Large SWAT teams swoop down on groups of resistors every day. In other words, this is a society that is continuously at war with war.
This plot concept, which isnï¿½t wholly original, could have proved fascinating, but it is clumsily handled and full of holes. The highlight is Christian Baleï¿½s carefully orchestrated performance as Cleric John Preston, a high ranking member of the group responsible for enforcing the regimeï¿½s draconian measures. Preston, at first a totally unemotional man, ultimately sees the absurdity of his job and becomes a member of the resistance.
While not a noteworthy film, ï¿½Equilibriumï¿½ should provide many sci-fi fans with an enjoyable evening. It certainly isnï¿½t the worst movie of it type, but it could have been so much more.
on May 16, 2003
Okay, the first thing I want to say right up front is that ï¿½Equilibriumï¿½ is NOT some sad, skanky, ï¿½Matrixï¿½ knock-off. Thereï¿½s no ï¿½Bullet Time,ï¿½ no ï¿½Blue Pillsï¿½ or ï¿½Red Pills,ï¿½ no ï¿½Agent Smith,ï¿½ no ï¿½Morpheus,ï¿½ no ï¿½Neo,ï¿½ no future-shocked Virtual Reality environment, and ï¿½ sadly! ï¿½ no ï¿½Trinity,ï¿½ in full sprayed-on-PVC-fetish-gear mode! That the film is being promoted with the following blurb on the case, ï¿½Forget the Matrix!ï¿½ does, I think, the film a HUGE disservice.
Mind you, there ARE some similarities between the two; both films are set in the future, lots of people wear really cool black outfits, the good guys and the bad guys fight each other using martial arts, and there are, ï¿½Guns. Lots of guns!ï¿½ Thatï¿½s it. So PLEASE donï¿½t pick this up expecting a ï¿½Matrixï¿½ clone, and youï¿½ll give yourself a fighting chance of enjoying it on its own terms.
ï¿½Equilibriumï¿½ is a Sci Fi film, just as ï¿½BladeRunner,ï¿½ ï¿½1984,ï¿½ ï¿½Soylent Green,ï¿½ and especially, ï¿½Fahrenheit 451,ï¿½ are Sci Fi films, in as much as the Sci Fi elements are but a framework within which the filmmakers explore the Human Condition. ï¿½Equilibriumï¿½ is set in a dystopian far future society, after the Third World War. A prologue sets the scene; to save Mankind, to prevent a Fourth World War, a war the species couldnï¿½t possibly survive, the decision is made, by a ï¿½Big Brotherï¿½ type world dictatorship, to tackle what it considers the root cause of Mans problemsï¿½ his emotions.
In this Brave New World of ï¿½Libria,ï¿½ the population is regimented in the extreme, endlessly watching and listening to sermons from ï¿½Father,ï¿½ in which he explains to them the horrors that have been caused by feelings and emotions. Every man, woman and child takes an emotion suppressing drug called ï¿½Prozium.ï¿½ The ultimate crime in this society is a ï¿½Sense Offence,ï¿½ in which the perpetrator stops taking their Prozium shots and allows their senses to resurface and explore the world around them; a painting, a piece of sculpture, a music recording, a scent. Everything that can possibly register an emotional response in the population has been savagely suppressed, works of art, literature, music, even pets; this is a drab, dull, gray, emotionally barren world.
But human nature is still a force to be reckoned with, even in Libria, and there is an underground of malcontents, people who refuse to take their Prozium and live in a world rich in feelings and emotions. As far as Father is concerned, these are dangerous subversives that society cannot tolerate, and to combat them the State has created an elite corps of hunter/killer police, the ï¿½Clerics.ï¿½ The elite of the elite is a Cleric named ï¿½Preston,ï¿½ played by Christian Bale; cold and emotionless, Preston is like a Vulcan, but without their well-developed sense of humor! He carries out his duties for the State with clinical precision, disposing of both people and offending artifacts with complete equanimity. He is also a Master in the futuristic martial arts technique of ï¿½Gun-Kata,ï¿½ in which all the Clerics are trained.
And itï¿½s ï¿½Gun-Kataï¿½ that gives the film its spectacular action sequences. Just as in the ancient martial art of Kendo, ï¿½The Way of the Sword,ï¿½ the sword becomes an extension of the practitionerï¿½s body, in ï¿½Gun-Kataï¿½ the guns the Clerics use - and even the rounds they fire! ï¿½ become an extension of the Cleric himself. This is spectacularly showcased in a number of superbly choreographed fight sequencesï¿½ I can safely say that youï¿½ll not have seen anything like this before!
But this is NOT just a mindless actioner dressed up in Sci Fi trappings. The film has a heart and a soul, and itï¿½s the journey that Preston embarks upon when he accidentally misses one of his Prozium shots, his discovery of his own humanity, that is the core of this film. We watch as slowly but surely Preston wakes from his self-medicated emotional stupor. We see him as he really ï¿½hearsï¿½ - for the first time - a piece of classical music, reads a book of poetry, feels the softness of a piece of silk, breathes in the scent of a long forgotten perfume, and experiences the emotional rush of a perfect sunrise. We also experience with him his abject horror, when he realizes what he, and the rest of the world, including his own two children, have been deniedï¿½ the opportunity to be truly human.
As the film progresses, and as Prestonï¿½s emotions return, he is charged by Father to discover, and destroy, the resistance. Where will his allegiance lie, with the State, which has given him all that he has, and has made him all that he is, or with the Sense Offenders he has dedicated his life to eradicating?
Completely mishandled by the studio upon its release - I think it was shown on a couple of screens in Milwaukee one weekend! - this is intelligent Sci Fi on a human scale, in the grand tradition of ï¿½BladeRunner,ï¿½ ï¿½1984,ï¿½ ï¿½Soylent Green,ï¿½ and ï¿½Fahrenheit 451.ï¿½ As long as you donï¿½t expect ï¿½Matrixï¿½ style pyrotechnics, thereï¿½s a great deal to be enjoyed in this film; a solid story, good performances, especially from Bale, excellent and well choreographed action scenes, and a satisfying ending. Go ahead, check it out, Iï¿½m sure you wonï¿½t be disappointed.