“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9
I remember reading some time ago that great stories aren’t new, just refreshed. After watching Equilibrium, I can see where this holds it’s truth.
The cerebral action film starring Christian Bale does a lot to retell the story of a man’s awakening from what the world is telling him is normal and battle to fight back. But as much as this feels like The Matrix in a lot of ways, complete with well choreographed gun play and paso doble style music, the refreshing part about this narrative has to do with it’s antagonist, specifically the fight and suppression of human emotion.
I’m grateful that I wasn’t taking my Prozium at the time of watching this movie, otherwise I would have missed out on several fist pumping moments, including the opening sequence where we get introduced to Bale’s character John Preston, the lead “Cleric” whose job it is to suss out any emotion offenders and burn all their cool emotionally created stuff like books, cds, paintings, etc.
The muted colors of the world these guys live in, in contrast to the colorful spaces occupied by the resistance, go a long way to reemphasize just how oppressed they are.
The choreographed gun play and fight sequences were really well done. I specifically loved how the narrator (Father in this case) explains during a training session, how the martial arts being taught has purpose, that it isn’t just a discipline.
“Without restraint, without control, emotion is chaos.” – Jurgen
This seems to be the driving force behind “Father” and his doctrine of control. He sees human emotion as the catalyst for all of the evil events that have taken place throughout human history. This is reinforced throughout the movie with images of past leaders like Saddam Hussein appearing in the midst of the numerous propaganda speeches by Father.
As a result however, the opposite end of the emotional spectrum is oppressed as well, that which includes humanities capacity to love, create, believe, and hope.
We see this conflict begin to arise in Bale’s character the moments he stops taking his emotion inhibitor. The rest of the story from here on out becomes his slow “awakening” to the fact that emotion by itself may be chaos, but if controlled, can be just as powerful. No clearer is this made than when he is granted an audience with Father and is taken through a lie detector test to see if he evokes emotion. It’s only when he is able to control it that he is able to take down the guys around him and complete his mission.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” The Apostle Paul
Without our emotional capacity, human beings are incomplete. They are a part of who we are. But they aren’t all that we are. Created in the image of a complete God, we recognize that, unless controlled and re purposed in a sense, we become just as much a part of the problem. Emotions help us deal with the triumphs ad tragedies in life. Grieving and celebrating should be done. It’s healthy and frankly mentally therapeutic (dancing and crying are highly recommended). But because of the Spirit, we have the capacity to exhibit that fruit that the Apostle Paul talks about. We can be those people who are known for their love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and SELF-CONTROL.