Metascore
33

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 22
  2. Negative: 10 out of 22
  1. 75
    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:
  2. 70
    The fun here is not so much in the solid if stolid performances from Bale and co-stars Taye Diggs and Emily Watson (gussied up to resemble the Jefferson Airplaneā€“era Grace Slick) or in Wimmer's overpolished plot devices as it is in the production values.
  3. 70
    A terrific cast, stylish direction, and elegantly choreographed mayhem help make it far better than it might have been -- Though ultimately silly, Equilibrium's shopworn but stylish synthesis of ammo and ideas is surprisingly engrossing.
  4. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    63
    The martial-arts sequences take this prosaic thriller to a higher level.
  5. Equilibrium improves as it rolls along -- either that or, ironically, it wears down the senses until the viewer succumbs.
  6. Not a picture that makes you think very much -- except to wonder why the studios keep making movies like this.
  7. Mostly plays like a routine thriller with a classy cast.
  8. The best thing about Equilibrium is its impressive look. Along with its generally fine cast and some well-choreographed fights, that goes a long way to making the movie watchable -- despite its underlying stupidity.
  9. A preachy parable stylized with a touch of John Woo bullet ballet.
  10. Just because it's a good idea doesn't mean it's easy to do well. Screenwriter-turned-director Kurt Wimmer has a hard time keeping his actors from, well, acting a lot of the time.
  11. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    40
    Flashy, "MATRIX"-style action sequences trump ideas; it's hard not to feel you've just watched a feature-length video game with some really heavy back story.
  12. 40
    This operates at the intellectual level of the old "Star Trek" in its limp last season, and the professed humanism is belied by the extreme violence and Nazi-chic production design (not to mention a voice-over that traces the outlawing of emotion to "the revolutionary precept of the hate crime").
  13. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    38
    Equilibrium just happens to be a really bad comic book.
  14. It's not only an ultraviolent, ludicrously inconsistent rip-off of Bradbury's idea, but it poisons the well for future efforts.
  15. An accidental entertainment, Equilibrium is a science-fiction pastiche so lacking in originality that if you stripped away its inspirations there would be precious little left.
  16. Super- violent, super-serious and super-stupid.
  17. 25
    Equilibrium doesn't tread softly on our dreams; it tramples them.
  18. Reviewed by: David Grove
    20
    Since Equilibrium shamelessly rips off every Orwellian science fiction thriller in film history, what other reason is there besides sheer desperation for the film to be so stupidly violent?
  19. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    20
    Misses with its blowhard treatment of a silly, obvious script. Results might hazard "Battlefield Earth" comparison if new pic were a tad more fun.
  20. 10
    As this clueless, bulimic debacle madly regurgitates ideas and iconography from Lang to the brothers Wachowski, Leni Riefenstahl to L. Ron Hubbard, Ray Bradbury to Susan Faludi, it's not just Bale who has a hard time keeping a straight face.
  21. Equilibrium is like a remake of "1984" by someone who's seen "The Matrix" 25 times while eating Twinkies and doing methamphetamines.
  22. If someone left "1984," "Fahrenheit 451," "Brave New World," "Gattaca" and the Sylvester Stallone potboilers "Judge Dredd" and "Demolition Man" out in the sun and threw the runny glop onto a movie screen, it would still be a better picture than Equilibrium, a movie that could be stupider only if it were longer.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 247 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 12 out of 125
  1. Oct 30, 2012
    10
    Critics keep mentioning the plot and the themes which are the weaker aspects of equilibrium. This movie was incredible for me because of the performances "christian bale" "emily watson" "sean bean" , the superb novelty and excellence of the martial arts and action sequences, and the crisp sharpness of atmosphere. Alot of criticism is aimed at bcuz its based in a dystopic future world and its "done before" but dystopic setting should be thought of as a genre rather than a plot so i don't think it has to be new and original all the time. Also note that it came out in 2002, soon after the first matrix movie. So it's a bit unfair to say that it copied the matrix when a lot of work would have already begun on equilibrium. Most pple would have watched it years and years after it was made, bcuz they saw christian bale in batman. Equilibrium is always in my mind christian bales greatest performance. And Gun kata a semi-realistic martial art that has spawned a real-life niche in itself. Full Review »
  2. Aug 26, 2012
    3
    What a mess.
    I could go into detail and explain pretty much what's wrong with this movie, but I simply don't have time.
    I just have no idea
    how this movie could appeal to so many people, in a positive way. "At least it's entertaining", well, it's not. One of the dullest things I've seen in my life. It had potential, a couple of minutes into the opening scene, went downstairs after that. Full Review »
  3. Jun 28, 2011
    10
    I am seriously considering never again opening Metacritic. I mean what sort of nonsense ratings are those? Are these critics retarded or what? This is an amazing movie and deserves at least an 8! Full Review »