Equals – A Review

Equals (2016)


Directed by Drake Doremus


The film is set in the future, in a society which has recovered from some sort of catastrophe. Everyone has food, everyone is clothed, everyone is educated, everyone goes to work, everyone is treated equally. There is only one catch. You cannot feel emotion. Those who do are forced into an emotionless state, or commit suicide because they can no longer stand it.

The plot follows Silas, who develops the “defect” of emotion called S.O.S., “Switched On Syndrome”. He falls in love with Nia, one of his co-workers. They constantly have to hide their feelings and when they meet, they have to do so in secret. The couple plan to leave “the collective”, but as they are days from hatching their escape plan, Nia is summoned to conceive a child. The plot begins to unravel as the authorities are alerted to the couple’s emotions.

In this film humans are genetically engineered to feel nothing, which helps to maintain a balanced and stable society. (Although some feelings cannot be completely repressed) Apparently emotion is the ultimate evil. I like the fact that everyone has equal opportunity, but I still feel that the film is whitewashed. No, this is not a pun on the fact that most of the film looks white (the buildings, the clothes, the furniture, the list keeps growing). If this film wished to demonstrate “equality”, I feel it should have cast more actors of varied ethnicity.

I think this film is an interesting visual take on the future. It is white, and pristine. It is very cool, but after you see everything that their technology has to offer, it gets repetitive. There is a very small “world” in this film – the size of the city is not suggested… The protagonist only moves between work and home, there is not much variety.

One of the major things that annoyed me about this film, is that everyone wore white, and no one had stains. No matter how much you engineer and plan for something, there will be no way that everyone will have clean uniforms. Unless, of course, they have a spare one they are wearing underneath, or they have a rack of these uniforms following them around on one of those wheelie stands. Ridiculous.

The second thing that annoyed me, was the length of the film. It feels like there is almost no climax in this film, it just progresses slowly and things happen. The constant facial close ups, the lengthly scenes of people just looking and breathing is frustrating. It adds nothing to the story and beefs out the length. There were plenty of times that I just wanted to skip ahead and get to the end of the film. It was really slow going.

The cinematography was amazing. The acting was good. (Yes, even though Kristen Stewart was in it. Somehow she managed to annoy me less in this film. I think she did a good job.) However, after half an hour of watching this film, you end up bored. (Plus I felt like smashing my computer screen when I heard the repetitive notification made by the on-screen electronic devices in the film.) I wouldn’t recommend it.




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