A24 has put out some very good movies. Spring Breakers, Ex Machina, Amy, Room(not The Room), The Disaster Artist(Coincidentally about The Room), Moonlight, Lady Bird, The Witch, and Hereditary are just a few that have exceeded expectations, done relatively well in the box office and won some awards. I would say all of these movies are good to great and very watchable. Equals on the other hand is… ok.
Here’s my movie math, we’ve got Logan’s Run’s setting * Equalibrium’s culture + Romeo & Juliet’s love story = Equals. Unfortunately the whole is a little less than the sum of its parts. The plot here is Silas (Nicholas Hoult) and Nia (Kristen Stewart) live in an isolated society where strong emotions were purged and are now seen as a disease similar to how we see cancer. Things happen and people do stuff ending in a complete movie. I don’t want to spoil it for you in case you want to see it. It’s not unwatchable but if you are not into sci-fi mixed with some romance, it may not be watchable for you.
Let’s start with the positives, which there are a fair amount. Equalshas some great acting and very believable special effects. If I was going to compare the effects to anything I would put it on par with an episode of Black Mirror. Stewart is refreshingly effective as Nia and seems to be much more emotive than she was in previous movies. If the only thing stopping you here is that you hated her in Twilight, give this a shot. She isn’t nearly as wooden and seems to have a better hold on when to use the stoic 1000 yard stare she mastered previously. She isn’t at Meryl Streep level or anything but she’s far from Denise Richards level terrible. I have nothing but positive things to say about Hoult as well. Despite 10 of his last 12 movies having terrible Rotten Tomato scores, I like him in all the movies I’ve seen with him. I blame his agent.
Equalsplods along some and takes more than half the movie to pick up the pace. At just over 100 minutes, it’s a bit of a slog. I wasn’t expecting an action packed thrill ride but getting to the point in order to explore some character development would have been much better. There were long periods where there wasn’t dialog in an effort to create a montage of relationship building with some forgettable music in the foreground. I would have preferred some actual interaction with the characters that required some writer to actually come up with conversations for these characters to have. World building, backstory, comic relief, or really anything would have helped me to connect with these characters as opposed to the Rocky IVequivalent of romance building (cue Hearts on Fire). Implied connection does nothing for me and I really feel like they dropped the ball on making a meaningful connection with these characters so I would care when things happened to them.
It seems like all the characters ever eat is salads. I get that it’s a future utopian society and they are supposed to be healthy but if I lived there and couldn’t have a burger, steak, cake, or anything fried I would lose my mind. Maybe without emotions you don’t care about what your food tastes like and you’re down for eating kale and bean sprouts every meal but that is not what I would consider an advanced society. In my opinion societal advancement is achieved when you can eat all the other living things around you with full impunity. In many parts of the world you can eat any number of animal genitals and it’s considered a delicacy. Nothing says first world country more than chowing down some ox dick. I’m unsure how you cook them but I hear when you steam them, you may get more out of them.
As always I am Tim McDonald, your movie watching stunt double. I am looking for hidden gems or movies that you feel don’t get enough recognition. I’m thinking of making a seal of approval similar to my What Not To Watch stamp and I would like some help finding some good movies that may have slipped under the collective radar. Hit me up with ideas for movies you want me to review and come up with bad jokes about.