User Score
8.2

Universal acclaim- based on 251 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 21 out of 251

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  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. Expand
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. Aug 22, 2011
    8
    Very good movie. For another supposedly shallow action production you get a well written story with good played and believable characters and good action scenes. I liked the showing of the future world the director has chosen and particulary the psychology behind the main person. The world did not get demonised the way it is done in other action flicks. We see that indeed, a world without emotions is a calm place with everyone doing their job for the good of the society. It would even present an attractive picture if wasn`t for the over the top police procedures. Instead of being locked up somewhere, the emotion (as society`s enemy #1) is to be destroyed once and for all. Getting rid of all the culture by the state is also too much for the vision to be acceptable. What we see exactly is what we might miss if we took the pill that supposedly is our saviour. In both dimensions : from POV of a single human being and the whole bunch of people. Hell yes it would have been more "efficient", but we`d stop being people. John preston sees that and shows others. It was fascinating, making me reflect the movie for couple of weeks. To add to that, we get some drama with some good action. Believable, original and solid. Expand
  5. Dec 25, 2011
    10
    Why does this movie receive such low scores from reviewers? It is a fantastic movie! I have to agree with MarkusW, guess the media did not like the message.
  6. Jan 21, 2013
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. An underrated piece of art, this bleak future where emotions are forbidden has an ironic emotional core to it. It doesn't surround itself with blatant copies of Fahrenheit 451 and 1984, in fact, what many people would assume are carbon copies I would prefer to call references, harking back to other dystopian films while also being a standalone film in its own right. Equilibrium treats the matter with mild stoicism, foreshadowing particular events in a neat way that manages to explode in a thrilling yet thoughtful way. The ignorance of many critics that assumed the worst, didn't seem to see the whole picture. None of this was about the fact that censorship exists or that you could be executed for certain crimes. The whole idea of the film was to make you see how people behaved through lack of emotion, with the failure to see that emotion is what makes us human. Rather than take a purely political motive, it manages to incorporate perhaps a majorly ethical motive. The action that is contained in this film is not just for showing off. The stylistic features render the action scenes mindblowing, but no less helping to drive the core theme of the story - besides, the main character is a cleric, trained in the art of Gun Kata (a thrilling name for a sadly non-existent masterpiece of fighting style) who manages to put a chink in Libria's armour as we see through his perspective by realising he can use this weapon against the system that attempts and fails to betray him as someone who is 'feeling'. When I first regarded this film, I became fascinated about how, amongst the close-ups and wider shots, the main character seems to obviously show some kind of emotion without the intrusion of the system demanding why on earth he hasn't been arrested for his crimes. This ultimately came to the climax, whereby the foreshadowing managed to sneak its way in at the beginning. The fact that Christian Bale was chosen for this role makes me wonder why some people didn't think this was good, considering how deft he was in executing the action, the visual non-speaking scenes and the dialogue. To the amazing use of irony, a number of heart-rending scenes kept up the core theme, and the stylistic use of camera focus on Christian Bale emphasised the distress that we could feel he was going through, one being his flinching when we don't see the dogs being shot, but we can feel it by way of his reaction. However, I thought one of the most chilling scenes was during a raid of someone's apartment, with fires burning and people spattered with blood, was the simplicity of a dying man running into the main character, known as John Preston, bleeding, desperation and hope glittering in his eyes as he slides down, leaving Preston aghast and completely horrified, reflecting the man's pain. The expression on his face could not have been possibly matched, Christian Bale just executed that so perfectly that I could feel myself choking up and stopping dead. So this film, by none the way anything completely copied from other films, is a masterpiece in its own right. By way of insulting the stylistic features to convey emotion and provide thrilling action that shaped the film, the amazingly well-acted characters that were to no end incredibly fascinating, the amazingly clever storyline, you are refusing to take it to the light of some of the world's greatest films and distastefully making the biggest mistake of throwing it away. Like the scene in the film, whereby Preston awakes from a nightmare with shock and overwhelming emotion, tears away the fabric from the window to reveal glimmering light on the horizon and a rainbow glowing in the rain, it strips away the layers as the film goes on, lulling you into a false sense of security, but instead just brings you surprises exploding onto the scene, leaving you brimming with hope at the end. Look out for the poignant reference of Yeats. Expand
  7. Jun 5, 2012
    7
    It's cliched, and often at times, a little silly, but there's enough story, thematic threads, action and good acting - especially from Bale - to keep you entertained. It's not as deep as say, Blade Runner, but there's enough richness in the themes of emotion and feeling to get you talking.
  8. Feb 22, 2013
    4
    Equilibrium is an underground Sci-Fi film with a huge cult following. If you ask any other Sci-Fi geek, they'll probably have Equilibrium in their top ten list, but I couldn't tell you why. The film is vintage Sci-Fi, with a semi-original idea, unfortunately, the cast just didn't pull it off. I've never been a huge Christian Bale fan and this movie is a prime example of why. He's given a role that suites him perfectly and he mumbles and relies on the rest of the cast to carry him. In the future, emotions and things that evoke emotions are outlawed, and Bale is one of the men responsible for enforcing these laws, but he soon turns to the other side, when he accidentally feels an emotion for the first time. Bale is a cold guy to begin with. He never shows much emotion even when his role calls for it, so aside from Keanu Reeves, he was the best choice for this role. The story was a little out there and the effects were over the top, but it's Bale himself who puts the icing on the turd cake. He's completely dependent on his fellow cast members and the ridiculous special effects his character is given. Maybe I'm just not that bright, but I really don't understand why so many people are so obsessed with this movie. The cast wasn't anything special and the story was okay at best. Expand
  9. Jun 23, 2012
    9
    entertaining and great action scenes. christian bale does a wonderful job portraying a devoted cleric who begins to doubt his original beliefs, abandons them, and eventually fights for them. very good end fight scene.
  10. Dec 3, 2013
    8
    Wow, talk about aiflm with an overwhelming amount of unnecessary hate. Equilibrium is a very high quality sci-fi action flick with great sequences of drama, along with a fantastic performance by the ever brilliant Christian Bale. His performance alone lifts this up from your ordinary action movie to something much more.
  11. Oct 4, 2012
    10
    After watching this movie, I was completely shocked at its metascore! Thank god the users have got it right! This films goes up there in my favourite films of all time list. The story is really good, I don't know why some people were bad mouthing the story, it was really interesting and executed nicely, job well done right there. The action itself is fantastic, I've only watched it recently so considering it was a 2002 film I was definitely impressed. Expand
  12. Aug 26, 2010
    9
    I just can't understand the critics sometimes. This movie is great! Don't just always think about '' how crazy idea the storyline is''. This movie has a inner message, and it is beautiful, exiting, and so true. I recommend you to watch, people who give points like 1-6 instead of 7-10, are just too stupid to understand this. Definetly a worth of your time.
  13. Aug 23, 2011
    10
    The critics who reviewed this terrific movie are morons. Judging from the list of bad movies they gave good reviews for its no surprise. This film is one of the best sci fi action movies ever. You don't have to appreciate the ideas that are presented but cannot deny its powerful impact. We ourselves are the evil we try so hard to oppose. Our ideas and judgements about humanity are all at stake no matter how its presented. And this film does a great job of elevating that narrative. Expand
  14. Dec 28, 2011
    7
    Jamais vous n'aimerez voir des acteurs aussi fades dans un film, car le manque d'expression, voilà le thème principal d'Equilibrium. Et devoir faire ça durant tout le film, cela relève du miracle. C'est pour ça que le film est une preuve de plus qui confirme l'immense talent de Christian Bale, qui s'enivre à merveille d'émotions au fil de l'histoire, sans se cacher au spectateur. Un jeu d'acteur remarquable qui enjolive l'ambiance hypnotique d'Equilibrium, à la mise en scène soignée et au scénario bien plus complexe qu'il n'y parait sous ses airs de shooter movie. Mais non sans défaut, car c'est sous son apparence de blockbuster (surtout pour la fin) que le film se perd (malgré des fusillades assez stylées), entâchant quelque peu les superbes et intenses moments où Bale parle avec ses yeux. Et je ne parlerai pas des effets numériques... En somme, Equilibrium est un très bon film, mais qui aurait pu se passer du côté "action" pour être encore meilleur. Expand
  15. Jul 21, 2012
    7
    The Metacritic division of critics and users reflects my stance on this movie: The inner critic hates it finds it ridiculous and lacking, while the inner user enjoys the fresh straightness of it, and the audacity to infuse the mindless action with a subversive message.
  16. Apr 19, 2012
    7
    Equlibrium With Christian Bale

    Its an interesting movie. Maybe for people that studied world war two and hitler. They mention Hitler in the film. The movie revolves around the idea of strong feelings being illegal. A police state enforces this, and can terminate and incinerate â
  17. Sep 8, 2012
    9
    This is seriously one of the greatest action movies I've ever seen. The action is awesome, the premise, while simple, is incredibly effective, and you have Christian Bale. Winning combination if I've ever seen one.
  18. Jan 16, 2013
    0
    This was quite a pain. This was truly done by someone that watched 1984 and Matrix too much, and made it uninteresting. Action was just silly, no back-bone story, utterly predictable. Man, why did I watch this...
  19. Feb 21, 2013
    7
    Set in a fictional dystopia, where having feelings is a crime and are being prevented by medication, this action/thriller movie has an interesting concept and nicely done action sequences.
    What I liked: Christian Bale was perfect for this role. The same emotionless facial expressions he used in "American Psycho" really helped bringing the character to life. The stunts are excellent as
    well. The concept of this ficional dystopia is really interesting.
    What I didn't like: The movie had a few unrealistic scenes and plotholes and the action sequences were over-the-top. If you're too much into realism, you might have a problem with this movie.
    Expand
  20. Aug 14, 2014
    8
    It was good! far worse films have been given completely unjustified high scores on this website. Take guardians of the galaxy for example. Absolute rubbish! Yet it gets a ridiculously high score.
  21. Aug 4, 2013
    10
    I can't understand the low score on this movie. The movie is awesome! Maybe the mainstream media has a problem with this sort of films... maybe it makes people aware of their own goals!
  22. Dec 19, 2013
    9
    Totally under-appreciated and misinterpreted film. This is one of my all time favorite movies, yet I have a hard time defending it now as a serious piece of cinema, and I'm not sure why. It gets low ratings on all the major film sites despite tons of great actions scenes, a huge overarching story line, great attention to detail, and a terrific performance by Christian Bale. The Story: The dictator ruled state of Libria force-feeds its citizens drugs to suppress their emotions, and in fact, feeling emotion is entirely illegal. Punishment is death. Overactive emotions have been known to cause many of humanity's previous atrocities and wars, so to vanquish emotion is to therefore benefit humankind. There is a method to the madness; this film is set right after world war III, and emotion suppression is modern humanity's solution for preventing world war IV. Of course there are those that do not see this repression as a benefit and so an underground resistance forms. Although the plot is excellently executed, the dystopian theme comes across as just a little bit too close (for some, not for me) to an exact replica of an Orwellian model. Equilibrium has been accused of being unoriginal, a mere mishmash of well-known various Sci- Fi stories. I was never bothered by this mishmash. Examining the film shows there are more than enough original features, features that people must be overlooking when judging, because the originality more than counter balances the borrowed material. The top ranking law enforcement officials are (I think very cleverly) called Clerics. They employ the use a fictitious fighting style called the Gun Kata. The Gun Kata a major part of the film and makes for some amazing scenes. The details about the world are so specific that it really is an amazing accomplishment on writer/director Kurt Whimmer's part. Whimmer makes a living mainly as a writer, Equilibrium being one of only two major features he's directed. As I said earlier, Christian Bale gives a great performance, handling almost all the fight scenes himself, and due to budget constraints, only being allowed a handful of takes to get each set of complex choreography right. Director Whimmer makes excellent use of light and space, pleading his case for humanity's right to "feel" as light peeks through the drab gray tones of the photography, rarely, but just enough. Equilibrium is the biggest box office flop of a film I can think of. For how epic it is, the 20 million dollar budget seems miniscule, but its total to-date gross is $1.2 million, a totally pathetic ratio. Equilibrium appeared around the same time as the Matrix was doing its thing and so Equilibrium got very little press. The two films share a similar vibe and since Equilibrium came out second, it loses points for originality, and even though The Matrix is undoubtedly a great achievement, Christina Bale is hands-down the better lead (I'm not too fond of Keanu Reeves). Just based on that fact alone Equilibrium is worth checking out. Expand
  23. Oct 1, 2013
    8
    First of all I am not saying the movie is perfect because of the fact that there is no such thing as perfect even though the director maybe could have wanted to see the movie that way. Second of all I am not saying the movie is dark and melancholic because its really not, eventually. Third, the movie was pretty great for those honest needing people reading this.

    I cannot undergo being
    selfish and saying that the movie reminds me a little bit of "The Matrix" (1999) which is one of my most favourite movies of all time. Everyone will or is thinking that. The cut-scenes are probably at its peak of that time, now I'm not even hailing Bales performance and his scenes. Even the acting from the children are fantastic.

    The storyline for the main characters are fulfilling yes, the script is detailed and deep enough to be intriguing. I must give credit to the intro of the movie. Somehow it wants one to look away from fascism and at the same time to understand why and how. I believe its called somewhat of a mixed feeling you could say.

    The outro needs to be cut down in two to be understood. Just as a human face is divided in symmetry depending on where you cut it. Leaving the whole brain of the story behind of what to happen hereafter with one man's face looking forward in the future of the horizon of tomorrow. From the top again: satisfying surprising and curious.
    Expand
  24. Jan 14, 2014
    10
    Equilibrium is one of those movies I regret not having seen earlier and I was amazed to see that it had scored so badly pretty much everywhere. To start of, yes Sean Bean is in it and yes it happens it should be no mystery by now. Christian Bale plays John Preston is a futuristic cop called a Grammaton Cleric, his job is to find and arrest (or kill) sense offenders which are people who have decided to reject the Fascist governments policy that emotions are evil and need to be pressured using a special drug. Prestons character development through out the movie is phenomenal, to see a cold blooded killer who only cares about following his corrupt governments rules to a soft hearted human who risked everything for a puppy is definitely something to see. The new fighting technique called gun kata is definitely interesting when he is actually shooting but when he gets into a close quarter fight near the end it is a bit ridiculous to watch 2 grown men and professional killers slap each others gun about and make absolutely no head way in the fight for a good 30 seconds. The plot is one of the best I have ever seen and kept me enthralled through out the entire movie, there was never a point that I wanted to look away from the screen apart from one part but not because it was bad but because I didn't want to believe it would happen. The team behind this movie worked hard and the actors worked even harder to get their message across, Equilibrium deserves a 10/10 and if I could go any higher I would. Every one needs to go see this movie right now! Expand
  25. Oct 31, 2013
    8
    I love the difference between the User and Critic score, but I liked this movie because I liked the world that was presented and the characters even though they didn't need any emotion (major plot point)
  26. Jul 4, 2014
    10
    Equilibrium has slick action and an original plot similar to Gattaca. Christian Bale gives another solid role has a man who breaks the law by having emotions for a woman. Feeling toward others in the movie is banned. The society is an emotionless society and is rigid similar to the society in the movie Demolition Man. Emily Watson also gives good acting as the woman that has feelings for Bale. An underrated movie with fascinating concepts. Expand
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. Super- violent, super-serious and super-stupid.
  2. 25
    Equilibrium doesn't tread softly on our dreams; it tramples them.
  3. 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.