Directed by Drake Doremus
Icon, out now
How do you cope in a society without emotions when yours start to react?
There’s a strong movie to be made about handling unwanted emotional growth in a sterile society, but unfortunately Equals isn’t it. It’s not perhaps as cliché ridden as some reviews have made out, but there’s an overwhelming sense of familiarity about it that means you find yourself switching off at times. It borrows from some strong sources – Brave New World and 1984 both come to mind regularly during the first half, as does the 1970s TV movie of the former, which was in the best Logan’s Run/THX 1138 mode – but it doesn’t feel as if enough time has been spent worldbuilding, or at least in a way that feels credible.
Stewart and Hoult do their best with the material – Stewart particularly showing that the Twilight films weren’t perhaps the best use of her talents – and Drake Doremus frames many of their scenes together in an interesting way that says more about the society they’re in than any amount of exposition. It often (particularly in the first half) feels more like an art film, but then we get into the mechanics of the escape (where Weaver and Pearce become involved) and it starts to head towards the climax you know it has to, even as you’re hoping for some sort of real twist.
Verdict: If you enjoyed Andrew Niccol’s Gattaca then you’re going to find much in this that rings a bell, but it’s not really saying anything new. 6/10
EQUALS is available now on digital HD, VOD & DVD