Is It Really Worth the Price?

A reflection about Kurt Wimmer’s Equilibrium Movie (2002)

EMOTIONS are essential to life, it adds color to your world and makes up the reasons of one’s existence. Who can live up to a world without emotions or situations being contained in stimuli-free society? I bet, no one can nor will even try.

Equilibrium (2002)

Equilibrium – The Movie tells a lot of representations and scenarios wherein emotions are necessary to live and survive. Although, at some point I didn’t like the way how the story goes. For instance, given the fact that it is a fictional science film,  too much exaggerations have been made or portrayed by the leading character Cleric John Preston, played by Christian Bale on the introductory part, with regards to his actions in one of the fight scenes. Try to think how can someone kill a dozen of enemies (the sense offenders) in a room full of darkness, visionless and only muzzle flashes can be seen. These are more acceptable when Cleric makes his way to Vice-Counsel DuPont’s (Angus Macfadyen) office to assassinate him, because Cleric is indeed the greatest or perhaps one of the “gun kata”  great martial artists.

In anyway, the film is a good combination of traditional and modern aspects of life since it has martial arts in contemporaneous with a serum that suppresses emotions to encourage obedience, called Prozium. It can be depicted from that, the universal pattern from where all societies, nations and states follow. Hence, the scenario or plot of the story can be considered ‘universal’ and therefore needs much attention more than one can imagine.

The movie depicts an accurate representation on how chaotic the world would be without emotions that make us ‘human’ in nature. There are several instances, though not being directly shown in the movie, where lack of emotions can be pictured out. Thus, the film is considered dystopian. Many will admire how Kurt Wimmer, the writer and at the same time the director, was able to create such story with relative twists and astonishing plot amid critical receptions and negative reviews from popular database reviewers.  All I can say is that, the film is extraordinary  in its own way and doesn’t have to be compared to any dystopian science fiction film.

Logically speaking, Equilibrium shows us how totalitarian government works in the society. Since the film is considered universal, it also implies how each and every nation experiences crisis in terms of freedom and self-expression, even to those who qualify themselves as democratic freedom is not free at all. We, as the people, the council and the clerics that compose the society in the film are manipulated by a single individual (the Father) whom represents those in positions and high-ranking government officials, those who are thinking only for themselves, for their individual sake and not for the common good.  Andrew Brandt (Taye Diggs), Clerics’ partner whom replaces his best friend Errol Partridge (Sean Bean), is one great example of career–conscious and corrupt government officials. On the other hand, Errol, the Underground and all sense offenders make up the group of concerned individuals, those who have a wider understanding of societal issues and problems, corruption and manipulation of minds brought by Prozium that hinders emotions toward self-expression.

All forms of media, arts, music and literature have been banned and treat as illegal, implies a more complex society, the total opposite of a perfect city. All of these triggers emotions and therefore need to be suppressed because it is where nationalistic approach, unifying thread and consciousness arise from as emotional responses.

Emotions are everywhere. We have witnessed in the film how emotions affect and necessitate our lives. It can be seen and observed in all forms and settings, at all kinds; that emotions can be suppressed by Prozium (experiences we may encounter, good and bad alike). Most importantly, feelings and emotional response bring the wrong system in a state of balance, equity and life in equilibrium.

 This paper was submitted to my Psychology 10 Class under Mr. Raymond M. Intal  (Instructor in Social Anthropology, B.A., University of the Philippines – Baguio)


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