A consistently intelligent (or at least bright), coherently constructed comedy that is on occasion a rather pointed critique of the American education system in the…
"Equilibrium'' would be a mindless action picture, except that it has a mind. It doesn't do a lot of deep thinking, but unlike many futuristic combos of sf and f/x, it does make a statement: Freedom of opinion is a threat to totalitarian systems. Dictatorships of both the left and right are frightened by the idea of their citizens thinking too much, or having too much fun.
The movie deals with this notion in the most effective way, by burying it in the story and almost drowning it with entertainment. In a free society many, maybe most, audience members will hardly notice the message. But there are nations and religions that would find this movie dangerous. You know who you are.
The movie is set in the 21st century--hey! that's our century!--at a time after the Third World War. That war was caused, it is believed, because citizens felt too much and too deeply. They got all worked up and started bombing each other. To assure world peace and the survival of the human race, everyone has been put on obligatory doses of Prozium, a drug that dampens the emotions and shuts down our sensual side. (Hint: The working title of this movie was "Librium.") In the movie, enforcers known as Clerics have the mandate to murder those who are considered Sense Offenders. This is a rich irony, since True Believers, not Free Thinkers, are the ones eager to go to war over their beliefs. If you believe you have the right to kill someone because of your theology, you are going about God's work in your way, not His.
Christian Bale stars in "Equilibrium," as Cleric John Preston, partnered with Partridge (Sean Bean) as a top-level enforcer. Nobody can look dispassionate in the face of outrageous provocation better than Bale, and he proves it here after his own wife is incinerated for Sense Offenses. "What did you feel?" he is asked. "I didn't feel anything," he replies, and we believe him, although perhaps this provides a clue about his wife's need to Offend.