Ross Barlow Posted August 6, 2006 Share Posted August 6, 2006 I want to recommend the movie *Equilibrium* (2002). I think some of you may enjoy it. Ari Armstrong of Colorado had recommended it a number of years ago on the [Old] Atlantis e-list, and I'm glad I wrote the title down and eventually viewed it (and then I immediately bought a copy). Apparently, the movie never made it to US theaters, as it made enough money in its overseas showings and the producers did not want to risk losing money in the US with high advertising costs, etc. It is a low budget film of a dystopian future, written and directed by Kurt Wimmer. Christian Bale stars, and also appearing are Taye Diggs, Emily Watson and Angus MacFedyen, with Sean Bean in a cameo. It was filmed mostly in Berlin. It is possible that Wimmer borrowed much of his vision for this flick from Orwell, Huxley, Bradbury, Fritz Lang, etc. But his championing of individualism against conformity is very powerful and worth watching for its own virtues. I like the mood of this movie. After a devastating World War III, the rulers among the survivors try to build a world in which war will never happen again. They see elemental human nature to be dangerous and evil (“Hobbesian” or “original sin” in our terms). To prevent war and murder, all war-like human emotions such as anger and hate must be eliminated. So everyone is required by law to take regular “interval” doses of a drug which completely kills all emotions, all feelings and all passions. All positive feelings and passions are killed also -- all emotions connected with love, art, literature, music, etc. -- but this is considered to be a worthwhile trade-off as long as murder and war are gone. It is a world of humorless zombies, sort of like my image of an Objectivist Hell run by the ARI elite. The punishment for "sense crimes" (i.e., not taking your interval dose and thus being enabled to "feel") is prompt execution. All artworks, books or music are destroyed immediately when discovered. There is no compromise. The primary enforcers of this totalitarian rule are the Clerics, whose dedication and extreme "gun kata" martial arts training makes them indomitable. What would it be like if you missed your daily interval dose and experienced, for the first time in your life, the ability to “feel”? I did notice in particular one piece of artwork that was apparently allowed to be in the office of one of the top rulers (Angus MacFedyen). It was a statue of Atlas, crushed down under the oppressive weight of the world. Hmm. This makes my wonder about Kurt Wimmer’s intellectual lineage. There is a resistance movement in this society, and they consider their best ally to be … human nature. This is the element of Jeffersonian hope. Go and rent this movie if you have not yet seen it. It is on my favorite movie list. -Ross Barlow. P.S. -- Can you imagine if the very first piece of music you ever heard was Beethoven's Ninth Symphony? That would be shock therapy, indeed. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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