“Prozium – The great nepenthe. Opiate of our masses. Glue of our great society. Salve and salvation, it has delivered us from pathos, from sorrow, the deepest chasms of melancholy and hate. With it, we anesthetize grief, annihilate jealousy, obliterate rage. Those sister impulses towards joy, love, and elation are anesthetized in stride, we accept as fair sacrifice. For we embrace Prozium in its unifying fullness and all that it has done to make us great” – Quote from “The Father”, in the movie “Equilibrium”
I’ve never started my articles with a movie quote, but I think this one above is relevant for you to understand the theme and general feel of “Equilibium”. This film can be easily considered the “New 1984”, or “Matrix Meets 1984”. Why do I say this? Well, because the movie talks about an authoritarian rule, a dystopia where the people are controlled not only by fear of punishment, but also through the aid of a miracle cure, Prozium. A cure for what, you might ask? Well, as we find out in the opening credits, the outbreak of The Third World War has determined leaders to find the source of human conflict… and that is basic human emotions: anything from suicidal madness, let’s say, to sheer mind blowing happiness. Every single manifestation is considered to be a source of conflict and, thus, illegal. YES, human emotions, the ones that should differentiate us from machines, have been outlawed and any such displays shall be punishable by death in the fire pit. But that’s not all.Besides controlling the people’s minds (something that Big Brother from “1984” had to work very hard to do), all objects that generate emotions are considered illegal and classified as EC-10 (Emotional Content 10). So you can imagine that not everyone is taking the drug and not everyone has thrown away their cute, lovely, nice, sweet objects of any kind. These people are called, as anyone who opposes a certain rule, rebels. This is where the Grammaton Clerics such as John Preston (Christian Bale), Errol Partridge (Sean Bean) and Brandt (Taye Diggs) come in. They are the instruments of justice of the Tetragrammaton Council and of The Father (a Big Brother figure who runs the city-state of Libria).
The Grammatons, highly trained in a combination of martial arts and gun use (Gun Kata), dressed in long black clothes (like the ones Neo wore in “Matrix”), have the responsibility to annihilate the rebellion, destroy the offenders and the forbidden objects that were undoubtedly hidden. This is all fine and dandy, but what happens if you forget or refuse to take your medicine? The answer is simple: you start to feel, like a normal human being. But this also means that you shall be captured and executed, not particularly in that order. What is the outcome for this? Can an authoritarian-ruled city-state survive like this forever? Can no one save the citizens from themselves?The movie itself is not bad. It’s rated at 7.6 on IMDb, better that the original “1984″ at 7.2, something that I don’t agree with at all. I would give “Equilibrium” a 7. “The movie presents a very dark future, in a place where being human is basically against the law. But the idea that you can control emotions in such a way is ridiculous. I mean, every decision that we make implies a small or large percentage of positive or negative emotions. You can’t eliminate them 100%, because you wouldn’t be able to make anymore decisions. At least, that’s how I see it. Besides that, the movie is believable, well done, nicely presented. And also, Christian Bale performs beyond expectations. It’s clear that the bad-boy authority-figure roles are the best for him. So, see it, don’t see it… I’m not sure what to recommend. Perhaps you could give it a try, at least for the action, Matrix-like fight scenes and Christian Bale.
***OPENING IMAGE SOURCE <<HERE>>