Film Review – Equals (2015)

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Title – Equals (2015)

Director – Drake Doremus (Breathe In)

Cast – Nicholas Hoult, Kristen Stewart, Guy Pearce, Jacki Weaver

Plot – Living in an emotionless future, Silas (Hoult) and Nia (Stewart) start to fall in love leading to a potentially life ending possibility if their affections were to be discovered in this barren emotional landscape.

“I’ve been watching you, the way you look at the world, the way you experience things, it’s different”

Review by Eddie on 31/03/2017

How do you create a bond and a connection with your audience to make them care when the very core needs of these elements are what your film deliberately doesn’t have within its main characters?

It’s the problem Like Crazy and Breathe In director Drake Doremus faces with this, his next romantically tinged feature Equals and it’s a problem that whilst is amiably worked on, is eventually one that can’t quite be fixed with Doremus’s visually arresting and intriguing in concept tale.

Centred within a futuristic landscape where emotions have been nixed within humans to the point of being almost entirely defunct, Nicholas Hoult’s illustrator Silas and Kristen Stewart’s researcher Nia find themselves feeling the very emotions their organisation are unwillingly to let exist and problems from this obviously ensue.

Doremus film feels like a distant cousin to a Sci-Fi films like Gattaca and over a short period of time the young filmmaker has showcased an impressive talent behind the camera with his romantically tinged dramas delivering enough to suggest that he could well become one of the most promising members of the new generation of filmmakers coming through the system but Equals feels like too much for him to pull off.

It’s a difficult ask for Doremus and his cast to pull Equals off, as having a film where emotions are largely held within makes it that much more difficult for the audience to invest ourselves in these persona’s.

In many ways Hoult and Stewart do a fine job in their respective roles and are well supported in very small ways by a supporting cast led by Australian’s Guy Pearce and Jacki Weaver but in a narrative that is more focussed solely on the developing feelings between Silas and Nia as they suffer through S.O.S (Switched On Syndrome), Doremus needed to broaden the horizon of this Sci-Fi universe with the possibility the film as a whole would’ve benefited greatly from a broader plateau of what has lead mankind to this point history, although budget restraints were clearly factors for this not taking place.

Equals is a visually arresting film that feels close to being great in many ways, but is held back by numerous failings. Equals is Doremus’s most disappointing film so far no doubt, yet it also harbors enough within in it to suggest that the director is still very much a talent to keep a close eye on as he progresses in his craft.

2 ½ coffee mugs out of 5

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