Venice Film Festival: Equals (2015) - United States

Venice Film Festival: Equals (2015) – United States

Venice Film Festival: Equals (2015) – United States

Reviewed by: Andrew Chan

Directed by: Drake Doremus
Produced by: Michael Pruss, Chip Diggins, Ann Ruark, Michael Schaefer, Ridley Scott, Jay Stern
Written by: Nathan Parker
Cinematography: John Guleserian
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Kristen Stewart, Guy Pearce, Jacki Weaver

Reviewed at the 72nd Venice International Film Festival

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“Equals” is a film that comes with a lot of reference to other great films or novels of our era, namely “Brave New World”, “Blade Runner”, “1984”, “Gattaca” and the list goes on. However, as the saying goes, “one man utopia is another dystopia” and while the film is certainly well meaning, director Drake Doremus lacks a script that makes the story convincing or containing characters interesting enough for us not to fall asleep during the proceedings. We can labour through the films tougher and stale moments, but by the end of it, we are given no indication where the film is trying to head or say. Yes, we understand that human emotions or interactions are being control and “thou shall not love”, but the point of the film remains murky and the core is non-existent.

Kristen Stewart have been trying hard to shed off her “Twilight” epidemic with decent turns in “Finding Alice” and “On the Road” and here she challenges herself in a role that requires her to conform as a robot where her inferno of emotions as an outcast is waiting to be unfolded. Stewart does well with the limited material she been given to play with and manages to have adequate chemistry with heartthrob Nicholas Hoult. Hoult on the other hand lack the right level of charisma to headline the film. There are plenty of moments where the audience are simply questioning where the character or film is heading. Australian actor Guy Pierce is almost diluted into the background.

All in all, “Equals”, produced by Ridley Scott, tries hard to say something about future society, the human condition and the frightening reality that will eventually come to us. However, it lacks execution, conviction and any sort of empathy for the audience to link and feel for any of the happenings. It is almost an insult to say the least that this film is deemed worthy to be premiered at Venice and while the intentions of director Doremus is honest and well meaning; “Equal” is neither entertaining, informative nor watchable. Venice, Scott and Doremus have seen much better days.
(Reviewed at 72nd Venice International Film Festival 2015, September)

Not Recommended film by HK Neo Reviews.

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