Tuesday, July 26, 2011

365 Movies Day #120 "Equilibrium"

So the year is 2002 and I'm wandering through a Blockbuster video. Back in my day, they had those. I see this DVD (we at least had those) with a bold statement on the cover standing alone on the shelf. "Better than 'The Matrix'". What? Now this is before the sequels to the film which used up quite a bit of it's cool with it's take on the old philosophical quandry of "Brain in a Vat". Personally, I liked both follow-ups, but they were nowhere near as compelling as the first. But I digress. I accepted the film's challenge.

Oddly, I only really knew of two actors in the film. I liked Sean Bean from his work on "Lord of the Rings" and "Golden Eye". He was such a wonderful choice to play Eddard Stark in Martin's "Game of Thrones". He's a wonderful actor who gets into real life knife fights in bars and stuff. I also dug Sean Pertwee for his work on "DOG SOLDIERS" and he had yet to do Marshall's "DOOMSDAY" which we also covered. The star was some young guy named Bale who I had never heard of. Was I in for a surprise.

The film is sci-fi set in a world after the nuclear holocaust wipes out most of the world's population. It's decided by the survivor's that it was man's tendency for emotion that caused such atrocities. In the new world, there would be no emotion. The new society is drugged and policed by awesome pistol wielding Tetragrammaton Clerics using a martial art called the gun kata (wonderfully used by Bale in the film). If there is such a thing, I would love to learn it. Bale plays a cleric on the hunt for rebels who have chosen emotion over the peace of the New World Order. But will his quest lead him to take down the entire machine?

Pertwee plays the head of the new government, while Bean plays Bale's partner. Taye Diggs is remarkable in his portrayal as a cleric and he and Bale have an amazing sword fight that blew my mind. The film also features the talents of Emily Watson ("THE PROPOSITION" and William Fitchner ("FIRST SNOW" and an actor I love). Angus Macfayden also does a wonderful job as one of the high ups in the order, Dupont. I really enjoyed him in the shortlived series "Miracles" and he's another "SAW" veteran with roles in both the third and fourth film in the franchise (Jeff).

This was the film that made be excited when I heard Bale was selected to play Batman. This was also the film that put him on my map and made me a fan. I went back and watched "THE MACHINIST" and "American Psycho" after seeing him in "Equilibrium". Bale's performance drives an intriguing story and he really cut his action chops on this one. It really made up for his pansy role on "Reign of Fire" where he was sorely upstaged by McConaughey. One more film left in the trilogy of Bale coming up shortly.

Director, Kurt Wimmer has only three films under his belt, but has written many more, including "The Thomas Crown Affair", "Street Kings", "Law Abiding Citizen" and "SALT". I have a feeling he'll be back for more in this blog series.


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