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Equals
BLU-RAY disk
10.07.2016 By: Sean Wist
Equals order download
Director:
Drake Doremus

Actors:
Nicholas Hoult
Kristen Stewart
Guy Pearce

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Two emotionless automatons in a futuristic utopia contract a disease that causes them to feel again.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Every now and then we're treated to a film featuring the 1984 template. You know the one one I'm talking about - the utopian/dystopian society of people with suppressed emotions and those few individuals who break free from the collective to discover what life is all about. Admittedly, I'm a sucker for this formula and when I saw the trailer for Equals, I thought we had another solid take to add to the cinema collective. Turns out that this film is just as hollow as the future it portrays.

In Equals, humans live in harmony thanks to being genetically altered in order to reduce the impact of emotions. The movie opens with a day in the life of Nicholas Hoult's Silas and the monotony of it all. Waking up. Going to work. Going home. It's not long before talk of a widespread sickness enters the picture, and Silas becomes the latest human to contract it. The disease results in feeling emotion, and as the diseases worsens, the emotions deepen. Fortunately he's not alone in his sickness, as Kristen Stewart's Nia is already going through the same ordeal.

I don't think it's any spoiler to say that the two fall for each other and try their best to hide it from society...and that's pretty much it. Some movies like Equilibrium will take the 1984 angle and attempt to introduce new elements, but Equals plays it far too safe. Even worse is that the love story is completely lacking in chemistry and captivation. We don't actually feel anything for Silas and Nia's predicament, and regardless of how many shots we see of the characters shaking and crying uncontrollably because of what they're feeling, it's ironically an extremely vapid experience.

The third act introduces a very intriguing plot element to the story, but it's far too little too late. Had this point been introduced earlier and the story followed the aftermath, I think we'd have a much more interesting take on our hands. As it stands, Equals is a very boring look at territory that's already been explored more efficiently in far better films.
THE EXTRAS
Switched On (8:15): As the title might suggest, this features interview snippets with the cast and crew sharing their excitement for the project.

The Collective (13:35): Here the actors discuss director Drake Doremus' directing-style, and how they strived to create something that did not feel like a product.

Utopia (30:11): The most extensive of the featurettes takes a look at the shooting locations in Japan, as well as the production design and building the world that Equals takes place in.

Audio Commentary with Director Drake Doremus, Cinematographer John Guleserian and Editor Jonathan Alberts: These kinds of commentary tracks need to die in a fire. That's no slight against the filmmakers here, as they all seem very nice, but the bulk of this track is relegated to Doremus saying how much he loves this scene or that scene, and how great this actor did, and it gets old really fast.

The disc is capped off with trailers for far better films, including Into the Forest, Swiss Army Man, The Lobster, Green Room, and The Adderall Diaries.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Equals is such a redundant experience that I'm surprised no one from the Orwell estate is suing on grounds for copyright infringement. It honestly feels as if no effort was put into creating a story that drives its characters or compels the audiences to care. For a film that's supposed to analyze and celebrate what it means to be human, Equals is such an unemotional piece of shit.
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