WRITER: Kurt Wimmer
DIRECTOR: Kurt Wimmer
BUDGET: $20 million (estimated)
some films i talk about on Filmed But Not Forgotten are films i come across randomly. others i know about through research or i check out because of the director or someone involved in the film. then others, like Equilibrium, are films that get recommended to me.
this film came out in 2002 and it has been recommended to me at various times by completely different people over the course of those eight years. i remember a friend of mine even had the poster up in their den back in '02 and at the time i had actually never even heard of it (which i am sure was/is the case for lots of people out there given the measly box office returns it generated upon its release).
so the other day i was dvd shopping as i love to do and i saw the blu-ray edition of the film on sale for about $15. i decided to get it (i also picked up Reservoir Dogs the 15th anniversary edition on blu-ray) and this week i threw it in my blu-ray player and checked it out.
Equilibrium is set in the future after world war III. society has realized that mankind won't be able to survive a world war IV. so the fascist regime as moved to eliminate what makes us human: feelings/emotions.literature, music and art are all being eliminated and society is on a drug called prozium which eliminates emotions. christian bale is cleric john preston. a top ranking government agent responsible for destroying those who resist the rules. but when he misses a dose himself, he begins to see things differently.
i knew from the dvd menu alone, and then once the film started, that the film had a strong visual style. however, we all know that visuals alone can't carry a film. and i was a little worried that the film was going to feel corny and melodramatic. a fascist future, a drone-like society, a resistance. if you watch any of these types of movies you know that those three things are almost must-haves for any dystopian future film.
and its obvious why. they allow for grand ideas and themes to be presented and for a positive look at the human spirit and how human nature can survive and win out against our evil and self-destructive nature (that has brought us to the point we are when these films begin). i get it. however, if you are giving us a grand presentation that we have seen many times before, you better do it well. and Equilibrium does.
there is also the beautiful cinematography and visually engaging fight sequences that all work together to create a world and a style that is more then just a pretty facade. and they did it all on a $20 million dollar budget which is incredible.
about half way through the film i started to get a little worried that it was heading down a very typical path and i wasn't sure it had given me enough to go there with it. but i stayed with it and it worked. sure, its a little predictable. but there are a couple nice little twists and turns which keep you on your toes and then there is just the really solid script that brings depth and emotion to characters and a story that could have been stale.
P.S. Equilibrium was kurt wimmer's directorial debut and he followed it up four years later with the also nice looking set in the future, but not at all as good (actually had it as #3 on my list of worst films of 2006) film Ultraviolet. but he has worked mostly as a writer on such films as The Thomas Crown Affaire (1999), The Recruit and Law Abiding Citizen. he also wrote the screenplay for the upcoming angelina jolie film Salt.