Equals (which is a terrible title) is a well made and stylish dystopian sci-fi drama that’s hindered by the fact that it feels like many, many other films before it. The main touchstone on-hand for this Ridley Scott produced film is George Lucas’ THX 1138, but Drake Doremus’ production also has echoes of 1984, Logan’s Run, The Island, Gattaca and Fahrenheit 451. It’s well focused but there’s a been there, done that feeling about everything happening on screen.
Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart are Silas and Nia, a young couple in a clinical future world where love is forbidden. They both contract SOS (Switched On Syndrome), a disease which leads them to discover their emotions and eventually fall in love. However, they must hide their relationship as their society attempts to find a cure for this new disease, which threatens to destroy the equilibrium.
Filmed on some impressive locations in Japan and Singapore, there’s an old-fashioned look and feel to the future-world that Doremus has created. However, the impressive visuals aren’t enough to make Equals engaging. Both Hoult and Stewart are fine in their respective roles as the young couple coming to terms with their burgeoning feelings. They don’t get the chance to break-out and deliver any real emotion and this means that their performances appear to be very one-note – you never really buy that the pair have fallen in love . Everything is said in hushed tones and whispers and Equals really needs some extra electricity. Guy Pearce and Jacki Weaver (reunited after the cracking Animal Kingdom) appear in supporting roles, but this is mainly Hoult and Stewart’s show.
Equals is a sci-fi flick which will work well for the portion of Kristen Stewart’s Twilight fanbase who have moved on to more grown-up fare. However, at times this forbidden love romance plays like a mash-up between an arty science fiction film and a tween blockbuster. It’s well executed but it fails to bring anything new to this type of dystopian drama and you’ll find yourself yearning to re-watch THX 1138 by the time it’s all over.
Equals comes with aa couple of trailers and a a brief 8 minute behind-the-scenes piece. It’s okay, but this could have been much more detailed.