Equilibrium Movie Poster Image




Violent post-nuclear sci-fi is Orwellian.
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Science Fiction
  • Release Year: 2002
  • Running Time: 107 minutes

What parents need to know


Violence and peril.

Not applicable

Some strong language.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Sci-fi drug use.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this film is violent. The opening scenes show a sense police raid, involving much shooting and death. The closing scenes are of greater violence, big explosions and more death. In between there is intermittent violence and death. Despite this, the film isn't unusually violent for this kind of movie, and the deaths aren't gory. Some younger children might be upset by the sense police's arrest and abduction of Preston's wife in front of her young family.

What's the story?

Equilibrium is set in the joyless state of Libria, a post-nuclear apocalypse, early 21st-century society where all human emotions are outlawed in order to prevent war. Any materials, such as books or artworks, that might cause people to feel sensations are destroyed, as are those who engage in their production, dissemination or appreciation. Human instincts are kept in check through the mind-numbing drug Prozium. The protectors of this violent peace are the "clerics." They are highly trained to detect anyone failing to take Prozium doses and destroy members of the underground. John Preston (Christian Bale) is a leading cleric, ruthless in his tracking down and eradicating of sense criminals, even those closest to him. However, after a potent meeting with underground member, Mary (Emily Watson), and a missed dose of Prozium, Preston begins to have feelings, and decides to bring down the system from the inside, a dangerous mission indeed.

Is it any good?


This intense, unsettling film draws heavily from George Orwell's classic, 1984. Writer/director Kurt Wimmer substitutes "Big Brother" for "Father," whose voice and features are projected across Libria on enormous television screens, constantly reminding people of the dangers of the natural human state and the devastation it had led to in earlier, less sophisticated societies. Where Orwell has "thought police," Wimmer has "sense police." States in Orwell's world subdue their populations by the need to maintain their war efforts, while Libria's justifies the abuse of its people through the notion of sustaining peace.

There are a number of interesting issues that Equilibrium sets up to address. In discussions with children these could easily be drawn out, but the film itself descends into a predictable and formulaic shoot-em-up sci-fi action movie. The ninja-based gun fighting style used by the clerics verges on the balletic, but for any admirer of this film genre, they will have witnessed almost identical scenes in The Matrix.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how Preston, emotion and beauty win over the dour, controlling Librian state, yet rather than straightforward tales of good over evil, the film leads one to question these opposing concepts. Peace is surely good, but in this case evil derives from an all-consuming quest for peace, which itself breeds violence. Familes can also talk about how the importance of love, loyalty and joy abound in this film, but glory is associated with violence and destruction

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 6, 2002
DVD/Streaming release date:May 13, 2003
Cast:Christian Bale, Sean Bean, Taye Diggs
Director:Kurt Wimmer
Genre:Science Fiction
Run time:107 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:violence

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byIrdray2019 October 8, 2014

Very violent.

I found this movie went more into the graphics of shooting and killing than it did into the plot. At some parts the plot made no sense at all. The language isn't too bad, only one swear word, and hardly any blood (except at one of the end scenes the main character goes in with a white suit and leaves with a red one). There is a lot of close combat, shooting, and bone snapping. I think the most violent scene was right at the end when one of the guy's faces actually get cut off and slides to the floor.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Adult Written byPL Hans April 27, 2009

Not a problem, except for the hokey face sliding off

Violence-7/10 Sex/Nudity-1/10 Language-4/10
What other families should know
Too much violence
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008

Pretty Violent, But that's it.

There is a lot of violence. That very true. At one point, the main character beats SWAT team members to death with the back of his gun. Also, in one scene they do not show it, but you hear dogs yelping and gunshots. There is a lot more violence than that, too. And many disturbing scenes. I think it is appropriate for some kids my age, but not most of them.


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