Equilibrium (film): Wikis


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Theatrical poster for Equilibrium
Directed by Kurt Wimmer
Produced by Jan de Bont
Lucas Foster
Written by Kurt Wimmer
Starring Christian Bale
Taye Diggs
Emily Watson
Sean Bean
Angus MacFadyen
William Fichtner
Sean Pertwee
David Hemmings
Music by Klaus Badelt
Cinematography Dion Beebe
Distributed by Dimension Films
Release date(s) December 6, 2002
Running time 107 min.
Language English
Budget $20,000,000 US (est.)
Gross revenue $5.3 million (worldwide)

Equilibrium is a 2002 science fiction/action film written and directed by Kurt Wimmer. It stars Christian Bale as John Preston, a high-ranking enforcement officer in a future dystopia in which all forms of emotional expression are illegal, and citizens are forced to take daily injections of drugs to suppress their emotions. After accidentally missing one such injection Preston begins to experience emotion; he begins to question his own morality and to moderate his actions, while attempting to remain undetected by the suspicious society in which he lives. Ultimately he is compelled to aid a resistance movement in the overthrow of the regime, using combat skills gained as a law-enforcement officer. Equilibrium contains plot elements from both Fahrenheit 451 (in this case, the destruction of works of art in pursuit of utopia) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (a post-World War III nation overseen by a Big Brother-esque figure).

The film co-stars Taye Diggs, Angus MacFadyen, Sean Pertwee, Emily Watson, David Hemmings and Sean Bean.



Equilibrium is set in the futuristic and dystopian city-state of Libria. After the Third World War devastated the planet and reasoning that humanity likely wouldn't survive another war, the leaders of the world sought to create a society free of conflict. It was determined that human emotion was the primary cause of conflict, and thus any and all emotionally stimulating material was banned. These materials are rated "EC-10" for "emotional content" (a reference to the MPAA film rating system[1]), and are destroyed by immediate incineration. Furthermore, all citizens of Libria are required to take regular injections, called "intervals," of an emotion-suppressing drug called Prozium, distributed at centers known as "Equilibrium".

Libria is governed by the Tetragrammaton Council, which is led by a reclusive figurehead known as "Father". Father never interacts with anyone outside the ruling council, but his image is omnipresent throughout the city in a strong cult of personality. The Tetragrammaton Council strives to create identical lives for all Librians and uses its police state apparatus to enforce unity and conformity. At the pinnacle of Librian law enforcement are the Grammaton Clerics, who are trained in the deadly martial art of Gun Kata, an art which teaches practitioners to attack and defend themselves based on the most statistically-likely positions of their enemies during a gun battle. The Clerics exist for the purpose of locating and destroying EC-10 materials and for pursuing, apprehending, and terminating "sense-offenders"—people guilty of feeling emotions. Despite the efforts of the police and Clerics, a resistance movement exists in Libria, known as "the Underground".

The film's protagonist, Grammaton Cleric First Class John Preston (Christian Bale), is Libria's highest ranking cleric. He is a widower whose wife, Viviana, was executed as a sense offender, leaving him with two children. After a raid on a group of resistance members, Preston notices that his partner, Errol Partridge (Sean Bean), has taken with him a copy of the poems of Yeats and stopped doing his job. Preston tracks down Partridge, who speaks of emotion and provokes Preston to aid him in suicide by cop. Shortly afterward, Preston accidentally breaks the vial of his morning dose of Prozium and, unable to obtain a replacement due to terrorism closing the equilibrium center, begins to experience emotions.

Preston is assigned a new partner, the career-conscious Brandt (Taye Diggs). Following the arrest of Mary O'Brien (Emily Watson) for not taking Prozium, his emotional confusion is exacerbated during her interrogation. Preston stops taking Prozium and attempts to maintain his monotone and emotionless facade in front of his son and the increasingly suspicious Brandt. Finding a clue in Partridge's effects, Preston soon makes contact with the Resistance. His behavior raises suspicions, and he is summoned before Vice-Counsel DuPont. He explains that he is attempting to infiltrate the Resistance in order to destroy it. DuPont tells him that he has heard rumors of a Cleric attempting to join the Resistance, and Preston promises to find this traitor. The Resistance convinces him to assassinate Father, an act which will create enough confusion for them to detonate bombs in Libria's Prozium factories. They believe that if they disrupt the production and distribution of Prozium, the emotionally-awakened Librians will rise up and destroy the Tetragrammaton Council.

Preston witnesses Mary O'Brien's execution, causing him to weep uncontrollably, and Brandt arrests him. Brandt brings Preston before DuPont; Preston, however, tricks DuPont into believing Brandt is the criminal. Once released, Preston rushes home to destroy his cache of unconsumed Prozium before the police find it, and is confronted by his young son, who reveals to Preston that he and his sister have not taken Prozium since their mother was executed, and have already hidden it for him. As part of an elaborate plot formed with the Underground, the leaders of the Resistance turn themselves in to Preston, on the basis of which he persuades DuPont to grant him an audience with Father.

When Preston arrives for his audience with Father, he surrenders his sword and is connected to a polygraph machine for a security interrogation. Via a screen, Father speaks to Preston, revealing that he has been aware of Preston's sense-offense, and has staged Brandt's arrest in order to lull Preston into a false sense of security so he would expose the Underground. The face on the screen changes, revealing that of Vice-Council DuPont, who explains that the real Father died years before, and that he is now the Head of State. DuPont comments that he has ended the Underground and has also captured Preston without a fight.

In response, Preston reveals his concealed guns and embarks on a rampage, shooting his way to DuPont's office, where he kills DuPont's bodyguards in a sword fight. Preston and Brandt face each other, but Preston easily dispatches Brandt. Preston and DuPont then confront each other with handguns in a battle of Gun Kata masters, during which Preston manages to get the upper hand. Disarmed, DuPont attempts to persuade him, as a fellow feeling human, not to kill him, but Preston recalls O'Brien, and shoots DuPont. Preston then destroys the propaganda machines which broadcast images of Father across Libria. With this opening, the Underground detonates their bombs and the prisoners are released. The film ends with Preston smiling as he watches the Librian government fall.


Gun Kata

Gun Kata technique.

Gun Kata is a fictional gun-fighting martial art discipline that is a significant part of the film. It is based upon the premise that, given the positions of the participants in a gun battle, the trajectories of fire are statistically predictable. By pure memorization of the positions, one can fire at the most likely location of an enemy without aiming at him in the traditional sense of pointing a gun at a specific target. By the same token, the trajectories of incoming fire are also statistically predictable, so by assuming the appropriate stance, one can keep one's body clear of the most likely way of enemy bullets.

The Gun Fu shown in Equilibrium is a hybrid mix of Kurt Wimmer's own style of Gun Kata (which he invented in his backyard)[2] and the martial arts style of the choreographer. They disagreed on the appropriate form of Gun Fu, with Kurt Wimmer advocating a smoother, flowing style and the choreographer supporting a more rigid style. Much of the Gun Fu seen in the movie is based on the choreographer's style (movements are rigid and rapid).[3] Kurt Wimmer's Gun Fu is dispersed sparsely throughout the movie, most notably in the intro scene with the silhouetted man (played by Wimmer himself) practicing with dual pistols.

Critical reception

The film received generally negative reviews from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 36% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 81 reviews.[4] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 33 out of 100, based on 22 reviews.[5]

Box office

The film, with an estimated production budget of $20 million, was a box office flop and only made $1.2 million in North America, and another $4.1 million in the rest of the world for a total of $5.3 million.[6] However this may have been caused by its initial release date coinciding with the Matrix Trilogy between 1999 to 2003.


External links

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