Equals centres around a large number of individuals working for a scientific company called Atmos, which is practically like a commune in the way it carries on. Communication between the workers is mostly limited, and appears frowned upon. Everyone wears white so they’re all seen as… you know, equal. Apartments are built such that when you’ve finished sleeping, the bed stores itself away, as does the wardrobe and kitchen table. Naturally, this would require your place to be twice as big as it needs to be, but, hey, …this is the future, so it seems to just store itself away in the walls anyhow!
‘Coupling’ is forbidden, and if it happens, you’ll be sent off to have your emotions suppressed. It’s like the Catholic church gone to extremes, as they treat such feeling so much like an illness, that they think it’s something that needs a cure, like how they could cure cancer and even the common cold (yes, this is a very advanced society).
Naturally, like any film we see in such a utopian setting, it’s not long into the proceedings that something will come along and really screw with their minds. For Silas (Nicholas Hoult), it’s the most groundbreaking thing of all – he’s in love… with Nia (Kristen Stewart).
In this place, where everything is functional and nothing is intended for pleasure, falling in love can eventually mean a death sentence, as they’re sent off for what I presumed was the equivalent of a frontal lobotomy, such is the way the plotting went.
These people are so desensitised, that when one person kills themselves by jumping off the roof, one woman observes in a disconnected sense, “I hope they find someone to cover his work” – just zero emotion.
Equals has a look of Logan’s Run to it, with everyone having to conform to a society whether they want to or not. This one’s called The Collective. As I watched the film, I was dying to know where it was filmed, but didn’t want to spoil it for myself until I’d got to the end. If you want to know, unveil the spoiler heading bit below.
It’s a very slow and soft piece, very much like director Drake Doremus‘ superb Breathe In, also starring Guy Pearce, who has a supporting role as fellow employee Jonas.
I’ll also add that the film led to a conclusion that I wasn’t expecting. Of course, no spoilers here, but it’s nice for a movie not to go for the obvious.
The film is presented in the original 1.85:1 widescreen ratio and with areas of the set bathed in mostly a single colour, almost like a monochrome movie. It works really well when a director pulls that off. It’s a shame there’s no Blu-ray for this movie in the UK, as the locations are just crying out for the HD treatment. However, it is available in at least one other territory I can find, and Blu-rays are region-free, so I’ll include a link to that in this review.
With Dolby Digital 5.1 sound on the disc, there’s an evocative soundtrack from Dustin O’Halloran and Sascha Ring.
The extras feel like an afterthought, however: a featurette (8:04), split into three parts – Exploring The Universe, Drake Doremus and Silas + Nia, all being the usual sort of thing with clips from the film mixed in with chat from key cast and crew members, and which also tells us where the backdrops came from that we see, when we’re inside the buildings (but I won’t say here), plus two trailers (2:10 and 1:25).
The menu is a static affair with a section of the theme behind it, there are subtitles in English only, and the bog-standard 12 chapters that most releases get.
Running time: 101 minutes
Studio: Icon Home Entertainment
Released: October 3rd 2016
Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen: 1.85:1 (ARRIRAW (3.4K))
Disc Format: DVD9
Director: Drake Doremus
Producers: Chip Diggins, Ann Ruark, Michael Schaefer and Jay Stern
Screenplay: Nathan Parker (based on a story by Drake Doremus)
Music: Dustin O’Halloran and Sascha Ring
Silas: Nicholas Hoult
Nia: Kristen Stewart
Bess: Jacki Weaver
Jonas: Guy Pearce
Mark: Scott Lawrence
Kate: Kate Lyn Sheil
Zoe: Rebecca Hazlewood
Seth: Yu Hwan Park
Rachel: Bel Powley
Leonard: David Selby
Iris: Aurora Perrineau
David: Nathan Parker
Coupler Woman: Jessica Lois
Receptionist: Ananda Jacobs
Doctor: Hershel Peppers
The Collective: Claudia Kim (voice)
The Collective: Jonathan Alberts (voice)
Placement Officer: Jennifer Lauren
Dominic: Tom Stokes
Thomas: Mook Denton
Peter: Teo Yoo
Max: Kai Lennox
Gilead: Rizwan Manji
Alice: Umali Thilakarathna
Dr. Colin: Anthony Alex Gilmore
George: Toby Huss
Gideon: Thomas Jay Ryan
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.