Equals (2015), Dir. Drake Doremus

Equals (2015), Dir. Drake Doremus
I want you to take everything…
I don’t even know what it is, I just want you to take it from me.
— Nia, Equals (2015)

Stars: Nicholas Hoult, Kristen Stewart, Guy Pearce, Jacki Weaver, Bel Powley, Claudia Kim.
Director: Drake Doremus
Screenplay: Nathan Parker

My instant reaction was to compare Equals to cult classic Equilibrium; from the suppression of emotions and arresting those who feel, to the protagonist realising and fighting against the system. Yes they have similar set ups but these two are quite different from one another.

Silas (Nicholas Hoult) is going about his normal routine; getting up, showering, dressing from a closet that has several versions of the same outfit, and getting on the train to work. But somehow this day is different, he notices something. That something is on the face of a co-worker, Nia (Kristen Stewart). That something is an emotional reaction to a man committing suicide outside their office window.

After this he notices changes in his behaviour. For the first time he notices the flavour of his food and realises he is enjoying it. Notices the feeling of the shower water on his body and for the first time he cries. Silas knows this is something to be concerned about because in his world feelings is seen as an incurable disease. He reports to the clinic and is diagnosed with stage 1 SOS (Switched On Syndrome). Eventually even with inhibitors Silas will feel the full embodiment of emotion and will be taken away to the DEN where this sentence is death.

Over the course of the film, Silas and Nia create an emotional bond, meet in secret and fall in love. They have to hide not only their feelings for each other from the public but any feelings at all.

At first I didn't quite fall for this movie, it is another white, static, clean dystopian future where the human race is being controlled with a few who buck the system and fight for their freedom. However by half way this film really opens up into something quite endearing. The acting is fantastic, the style of filmmaking is beyond beautiful, and the story eventually pulls you in.

Stewart and Hoult are the perfect leads for this film, they already have an air of emotional awkwardness about them which blends so nicely into the world they have been hired to live in. They play off each other nicely, Hoult starting off as a bit of a creeper but the chemistry ignites to create a believable relationship.

This is a quiet film, it has not made much noise but I think it deserves a few more eyeballs. Not the most original but what they do with the premise is still intriguing.