The bleak future of the human race seems to be the mainstay of Earth-bound science-fiction. If writers really do reflect how we currently see ourselves, then humanity has already given up.
Nathan Parker’s screenplay of Equals is both bleak and pristine. In a sterile, white world, human emotions have been genetically surpressed. Along with preventing war and misery, it has also stolen love and happiness. Mankind moves through the day with no enthusiasm nor pleasure, even when indulging in creative persuits like art.
When the suppression fails occasionally, the outcasts faces two choices – suicide or drug therapy that will eventually lead them to be locked away in the correctional facility known as The Den, from which there is no return.
Nicholas Hoult stars as Silas, a young man who begin to awaken. He falls for Nia (Kristen Stewart) who is also hiding her burgeoning emotions. Soon they become lovers and find support in a cladestine group of others who hide their feelings.
Director Drake Doremus, who provided the original concept for the film, provides a slow-burning love story with few highs or lows. Like his subjects, the mood swings are surpressed and things move along as an unhurried pace.
Thankfully, the fine performancs of the leads, ably supported by Guy Pearce, Jacki Weaver and others, keep the intrigue going. There’s a constant veil of threat over proceedings, even in the early moments of the film, which keeps it interesting despite the languid plot.
Visually, Equals is pleasing to the eye, with the futuristic utopia looking the part, but the design harks back to the sci-fi look of yesterday, with dirt-free, stark white environments and uniforms providing no common sense.
Equals is not without fault, and some may struggle with the pace, but overall, its an enjoyable time waster with some surprising twists that are unlikely to be foreseen.
Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Rating out of 10: 7
Equals will be released on DVD and for Digital Download from 26 October 2016.