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Underrated Gems: Equilibrium

Animeman73Feb 3, 2020, 6:14:58 AM

Greetings and salutations from the Pacific Northwest everyone. Welcome to a brand-new series on my channel called Underrated Gems. Here we look at movies that underperformed at the box office.

Yet were quite good.

Please note this series and this episode got inspired by a commentary by one Dave Cullen. To be specific The Dave Cullen show. So yeah Dave, you inspired me to do this.

So, this is all your fault.


In the history of movie making there are good films and bad films. Then there are those good films which go under the radar. Those underrated gems which deserve more respect.

That's what this series is all about. Movies that got passed over for one reason or another. Here they'll get discussed and given the praise they deserve.

The movie that will get commented on is a low-budget sci-fi film from 2002 called Equilibrium. Be warned there will be spoilers here. And this is not a film for the faint of heart since it's rated R.


Get ready for some dark and gritty sci-fi action.


The year is 2072. In the aftermath of World War III, the remaining world leaders sought to create a new society. To ensure there is no World War IV.

That new society came in the form of the City-State Libria. Within the confines of this new world people must take a drug called Prozium II daily. Which curtails all human emotion.

It has eliminated the darker emotions of humanity. But it has been at the cost of love, compassion, empathy. Very 1984-esque isn’t it?

Those who don't take Prozium are Sense Criminals. Which are enemies of the Libria city-state. Things of sentimental value, such as music, art, and culture are contraband.

The law gets enforced by a Brutal police force and Super-Soldiers known as Clerics. Enforcing the will of the Tetragrammaton Council. As well as their leader known only as Father.


Welcome to the not so bright future. It's actually quite dark!


But Father never shows his face to the public. He only appears before the Council. But his visage gets seen all over the city broadcasting all sorts of propaganda.

Again, very 1984-like and very cult-level creepy.

Because of the Prozium II no one has ever taken the time to wonder or ask. Why does Father never show himself? Not a Star Trek type future.

John Preston the film protagonist is a First-Class Grammaton Cleric. Played to magnificence by Christian Bale. He is an elite Cleric.


Meet Kohn Preston as portrayed by Christian Bale. Here is with his partner dealing with "Sense offenders".


He is also a widower and single father raising a son Robbi played by Matthew Harbour. And a daughter Lisa played by Emily Stewart. This is because Preston's dead wife played by Maria Pia Calzone was a Sense Offender.

One who got caught and executed.

The story picks up after a brutal suppression of a resistance group in the Nethers. An area outside of Libria's limits. Preston notices his partner Cleric first class Errol Partridge doing something odd.

Errol got played by Sean Bean. The man takes a book of poems by W.B. Yeats. Uh-oh, there’s a Fahrenheit 451 moment coming.

Preston discovers Partridge hasn't turned in the illegal book. He follows his partner to the Nether. Within a ruined cathedral Preston confronts him.

After speaking of emotion Partridge makes Preston kill him in a suicide by cop move.


Oops busted with contraband. Not good!


Afterwards Preston goes home and misses his daily dosage of Prozium. He begins to experience emotions such as fear from the nightmare he has. As well as the simplest joy of feeling the sun on his face.

Meanwhile the Cleric gets assigned a new partner. A ruthless career-oriented man named Brandt, played by Taye Diggs. 


Meet Brandt as played by Taye Diggs. Destined to become a real thorn in Preston's side.


Preston’s emotional confusion begins to worsen as he’s faced with two things.

First is the interrogation of a Librian woman Mary O'Brien played by Emily Watson. The second is during a raid in which a group of dogs get gunned down. Preston saves a puppy from execution making the excuse that it needs to get checked for disease.

Gunning down dogs? That’s no way to treat man’s best friend!


The ramifications of this will come into play later.


As the film progresses Preston gets forced to maintain his emotionless state. First in front of his son then in front of a more suspicious Brandt. It starts to reach the point where Preston is even forced to repeat dialogue to maintain his cover.

Soon Preston gets involved in activities that are illegal. First, he kills some police officers to save the puppy he rescued. Then he starts to rearrange his desk.

Going against the conformity enforced by Libria.

The Cleric shows more signs of the emotional state Partridge had. He even refuses to kill resistance members.  Thus, drawing more suspicion from Brandt.


Preston misses one does of Prozium Ii and he's starting to question everything. And do stuff differently.



Soon Preston gets called to see the Council. To be precise Vice-Counsel Dupont. A role played by Angus Macfadyen.

Dupont explains to Preston that he believes there is a traitor in the Clerics.


Meet Vice-Counsel Dupont. As played by Angus Macfayden.


Preston explains he is trying to infiltrate the resistance to destroy it. Dupont makes it clear he wants him to find the traitor and kill him. During the scene, it’s shown Vice-Counsel Dupont actually displays some rage.

Wait a second isn’t emotion forbidden to all the people of Libria? What’s going on here?

The Cleric soon contacts the resistance. And he agrees to kill Father. The plan is with Father dead the confusion that will ensue will provide cover.

Long enough for the resistance to set off bombs placed in the Prozium factories in Libria. This is to bring down the Tetragrammaton Council.

But things start to go awry when Preston witnesses the execution of Mary O’Brien. And it's done via the Libria’s furnaces. Ooh, nasty way to go!


Killed by Libria's furnace, lousy way to go. Great performance Emily Watson!


Preston walks out into the street and begins to weep for her. In an emotionless society like Libria that’s a bad idea. Preston gets arrested by Brandt and dragged before Vice-Counsel Dupont.

Brandt thinks he’s set for that promotion he craves. Preston turns the tables on the emotionless schemer. He uses evidence and psychology to trick the Vice-Counsel.

Making him think Brandt is the traitor. Brandt gets taken away and Preston gets cleared of any charges. The Cleric returns home to destroy his stash of Prozium.

Following a search, he gets confronted by his son. Robbie reveals that he and his sister haven’t taken Prozium for some time. Way to go kids!

That’s one way to stick it to the man, yeah!


What's this? Here's some youthful rebellion that should get encouraged!


The Underground engage in an elaborate plot by turning themselves in to Preston. He then gets the Vice-Counsel to arrange a meeting with Father. At said meeting, things start to go awry again.

Preston gets confronted by Father who knows about Preston’s Sense Offense. Then Preston discovers Brandt’s arrest got arranged to lull him into letting his guard down. The image of Father then changes to that of Vice-Counsel Dupont.

He reveals Father has been dead for some time. And the Council elected him head of state. Very sneaky Dupont, very sneaky.

Rage can be a destructive emotion. But when controlled it can also make someone deadlier. This proves to be the case with the rogue Cleric.

He reveals he has a hidden set of guns on him which were undetectable even to the best of security measures. The Cleric then goes on a rampage where he takes down the heavy security of Father’s facility. Oops, surprise!


And now Tetragrammayon Council your tyranny is over!


Preston bursts into the large room Brandt and Dupont are in. The scheming career-minded Cleric thinks taking down his opponent won’t take long. Fatal mistake Brandt.

Any good martial artist knows you never underestimate an enemy. The rogue Cleric shows why this is so. He takes Brandt down quick and in a rather gruesome fashion too.


Brandt underestimating your opponent is very...unwise!


Dupont and Preston face off in a fast-paced battle. Both masters of the Cleric martial art of Gun-kata. Somehow Preston gains the upper hand over Dupont.

The leader of the council then reveals a shocking truth. He’s not been taking Prozium for some time.

So let me get this straight. Everyone in Librian society must take Prozium II to suppress their emotions. But because of his standing Dupont doesn’t have to?

Yeah, that’s hypocrisy at its finest! Dupont asks Preston if it’s worth it to see him dead and overthrow Librian society.


The COuncil's reign and hypocrisy are over!


The rogue Cleric's answer was the same one Partridge gave to Preston before his death. “Yes, it is,” he states.

Preston kills the leader of Libria. He then smashes the center where Father’s propaganda gets broadcast from. This allows the Underground resistance to blow up the Prozium plants.

Thus, they start a massive riot where the authoritarian police get gunned down. The movie ends with Preston staring on in satisfaction. Bearing witness to the Tetragrammaton Council’s end.

What makes this movie an underrated gem? Well, there are many reasons that are as follows.

Christian Bale displays a range of emotions. As he transforms from cold and cruel killer to revolutionary. Thereby showing the kind of superb acting chops he has.


Excellent performance by Christian Bale as John Preston.


Taye Diggs as the vicious and scheming Brandt is the sort of subtle villain you love to hate. Well played Mr. Diggs well played!


Taye Diggs as Brandt. Vicious, ruthless the kind of villain you love to hate.


Emily Watson’s performance as the doomed woman stirs up emotions. Especially when she’s stepping into the Librian Furnace. All that time knowing she’s as good as dead.

Tugging at heartstrings works every time.

Angus Macfadyen does a terrific job as the vile hypocrite Vice-Counsel.


A heartwrenching performance as the tragic Mary O' Brien.


Another reason this movie is such an underrated gem is this. Its depiction of the horrors of Far-Right and Far-Left extremism. Far-Right religious dogma gets shown in the tenants and cult of Father.

Also, Far-Left extremism gets shown as well. In the PETA-like idea of forbidding people to have pets. From both extremes we're shown in this movie what tyranny looks like.

Many have pointed out to me many times going too far towards either extreme is most unwise.

    The writing for this movie is actually pretty good. Granted it’s not exactly Academy Award winning stuff. But it serves its purpose.

The fight scenes, oh the fight scenes! The martial arts styles used in the film are great. Diggs and Bale’s paired short sword fight while brief was well executed.

Note the paired swords resemble the wakizashi swords of Japan. The final fight between Dupont and Bale made the film better. It was fast-paced and very intense.

Leaving a person to wonder who would come out on top.

While very dark and gritty this film has superb writing, acting, and plot with a sense of intelligence to it. It was such a shame this movie saw limited release. It could’ve done much better than it did.

This movie shows you don’t need bombastic special effects to make a good movie. And that’s what makes Equilibrium an underrated gem.


Equilibrium is a true Underrated Gem!


I hope you enjoyed this first edition of Underrated Gems. Please note that all editions of underrated Gems will be free to view on Minds. I have to give some free content to my viewers.

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Thanks for reading this review. I'm Animeman73. Stay true to yourselves, stay classy, and God bless you all.



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Special: Dave Cullen’s Equilibrium review