Saturday, February 17, 2007

Movie Review: Equilibrium

Big Brother, most of us have heard of the concept. It's why we have things like Civilian Rights. The very idea of the government super-imposing upon our emotions, feelings, thoughts, and actions is preposterous in this society. It's why the Patriot Act caused a big controversy, it's also why other espionage throughout history have been of issue. Deep down, every human knows that their emotions, feelings, thoughts, and actions, their senses make them human beings. Now what if all that was taken away by a daily dose?

This is exactly what happens to the characters in a movie that came out in 2002 called Equilibrium. The name of the movie states quite accurately what society was, equilibrium, status quo, be just like everyone else.

The movie opens with the idea of a third world war in the twenty first century. The world would not be able to handle a fourth world war thus man had to eradicate the cause of war, man's emotions. The idea being that if man rid the world of anger, hate, jealousy, and all negative emotions the world would no longer have war. However, in the process of eliminating man's negative emotions, man eliminated the positive emotions as well. Turning man into nothing more than a robot.

The interesting thing about Equilibrium is this medication doesn't just target emotions, it targets the senses. Because you see senses induce emotion. The whole goal is to be at equilibrium with the rest of society. Emotions, senses, are treated as a disease within man, taking it to such an extent that the main character, John Preston (played by Christian Bale), no longer feels anything when he shoots a 'sense offender.'

This is the extreme that such a society can take. On the one hand in eliminating emotion man has elminated war, but man still murders other men. Because of a simple fact, if one man begins to feel, others will begine to feel and revolt against the government. It's similar to Plato's idea of a cave. If one man gets outside of the cave he will do whatever he can to go back and tell the others of the free world he has found outside of the cave. It is the same idea in Equilibrium, one man who feels emotion must be eliminated because the rest of the world will know what it's like to be human. John Preston's partner in the beginning of the movie sums up best what has happened to them when he says "Everything that makes us who we are, traded away."

While war is a byproduct of the fallen condition of mankind, the negative side of man's emotions, the solution is not to eliminate man's emotion entirely because to do such would be to lose the thing that makes us humans.
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