Equilibrium: With the huge success of The Matrix, it is not surprising that this film did not do well commercially. It contains some similar elements, including widespread mind control (though in this film it is acknowledged and voluntary), really awesome fighting (though with camera tricks and choreography instead of cop-out CG), and lots of black clothing. Critics also weren’t too fond of it. The entire idea of the film was a bit much: because emotions cause war and suffering and hate, let’s do away with them using a drug called Prozium. Okay, that’s fine, but the fact that they had a government-run group of uber-fighters to destroy paintings and pets and music and anything else that might cause feelings threatened my suspension of disbelief a bit. If they’re taking a drug to prevent emotions, why get rid of all the colorful stuff? People won’t care either way.

But if you can swallow that, you’ll enjoy this film. The dialogue can be melodramatic at times but attains its goal of multiple memorable lines and exchanges. Though it’s incredibly violent (with a body count of 236, more people die in this film than any other non-War movie to date), the fighting is flat out awesome. The soundtrack is excellent. And while many critics accused it of making grandiose, hackneyed Orwellian warnings about too much government control, I saw it from a different angle. The name of the drug, Prozium, was a clever blend of Prozac and Valium, both popular medicines for reducing negative emotions. We forget that it is human nature to be unhappy from time to time. Society expects us to be constantly happy and confident but that’s just not how we’re built. Emotions are part of what separate us from animals. Without emotion we have no drive to better ourselves. The society in Equilibrium had reached exactly that; it had become a collection of stagnant, circular lives that exist only to eat, breed, and die. Nothing changing, nothing tipping the balance either way. Perfect equilibrium.

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