Equilibrium starts out promising with a dystopian future where human emotion is a capital crime. This society views emotion as the cause of war, murder and greed, and therefore requires everyone to take a drug to suppress their emotions. When the top enforcement officer accidentally misses a dose, he starts to feel emotion and question the morality of his actions. The longer he is off the drug, the more he feels, but the harder he has to work to avoid detection by the authorities. For his sake, so that he would not be discovered and executed, I found myself wanting him to go back on the drug to suppress his emotions, but by going off the drug he has discovered a whole new part of himself and doesn't want to go back.
What disappointed me slightly about the film is that it degrades into repeated martial arts style shootouts like The Matrix or Kill Bill Volumes 1 and 2. It is over the top and not very believable, but I am not sure the movie cares if it is believable or not; the goal seems to be to entertain regardless of believability.
There is also much about this movie that reminds me of other films, such as The Matrix, Kill Bill, or 1984. There are also themes that remind me of Nazism, or North Korea, or plays like The Crucible. If you can imagine any totalitarian society, fictional or real, then this film has it. And this is why I think the film is worth seeing. This haunting view of authoritarianism is one that is going to stick with me for a while.
In a way, the movie is like an extended version of the 1984 Apple Commercial, which itself was based on 1984.
The movie feels low budget, and the shootouts border on being corny, but the story drew me in and I cared about the characters. That is enough.
Rating: * * *