Monday, October 3, 2011

Movies as Literature

I watched a movie last night that I thought was fantastic. It was called Equilibrium with Christian Bale. Not only was the storyline great, but the presentation was fantastic as well.
This was a movie I was introduced to in my Utopian/dystopian literature class over the summer. It is a futuristic dystopian that has created peace by drugging everyone to eliminate emotion. Bale is the main character who is basically secret police seeking out those who are "feeling" by refusing to take their serum each day. One morning, he accidentally breaks his last vial, and before he can get a replacement, he starts to feel emotion. From that point forward, he decides he would rather not take the serum, and instead tries to help the Underground.

Although a movie, it was presented very symbolically like literature. The most obvious symbol was a play on black/white symbolism. The "bad guys" were always in black, and when Bale becomes the "good guy," he wears white. 

Not only is black and white utilized, but basic intensity of color is used. I assume they probably used filters on their cameras, but the effect is that when there is a lack of feeling/emotion, the colors are muted (somewhat like an old photograph); when strong emotion is present, the colors are strong and intense.

Their are a lot of gun battles in the movie, but they are based around martial arts, so they are very artistic. Although there is a lot of violence, there is actually very little gore. What gore is shown in the movie is done so for effect. At one point, Bale has a small amount of blood on his shirt collar and fingers. This gore is used as he smears the blood across a TV screen showing the leader of this society.

All in all, this is a fascinating movie, both for its story and its presentation. It is rated R, but I am still trying to figure out why. There are one or two scenes with swearing, but they don't even appear until at least halfway through the movie. And as I said there is somewhat a lot of violence, but very little gore, which is what is usually associated with R-rated violence. There is no sex, nudity, or drugs either. In short, I would highly recommend this movie as entertainment and a literary presentation.