Released: 21st May, 2002
A truly harrowing film…
Patrick Bateman becomes Winston Smith in Dystopia.
Equilibrium has been dismissed as ‘Matrix with guns’ pretty much since its release which is very unfair. Whilst there are undeniable similarities (primarily the colours, never has a film utilized so many different shades of grey), Equilibrium is in many ways more intelligent than The Matrix.
Whilst there is absolutely no subtlety here (the drug people take to stop them feeling is called ‘Prozium’, not too difficult to work out this a dig at Prozac and and Valium) the message is no less important. Obviously the ghost of George Orwell looms large over everything, not just the dystopia of 1984 but also the privileged hypocrisy of Animal Farm.
Christian Bale was on a golden run around the time this film was made (American Psycho, The Machinist, Batman Begins, The Prestige etc) and he is once again brilliant here. He can convey more with his eyes than Kit Harrington has throughout the entire run of Game of Thrones. Speaking of GOT, Sean Bean **SPOILERS** meets his demise very early on even for his standards and the film does suffer slightly for this. Emily Watson is also underused as she smoulders when on screen and Taye Diggs is so crap as Bale’s sidekick that he threatens to derail the whole movie. I’m surprised this never became a cult classic as I loved it on release. It would make a brilliant tv series…
‘I’m a minor player in my own life story’ – Tony Wilson
As Steve Coogan’s Tony Wilson states in the film ‘This is a film about the music’ (Primarily Joy Division/New Order and the Happy Mondays) but it is told from Wilson’s point of view.
Coogan plays Wilson as a sort of Partridge lite but it is still a dominant performance. The cream of the crop of British comedy talent at the time are all lurking around somewhere with John Thomson, Peter Kay, Simon Pegg, Rob Brydon and Ralf Little lending support as well as Paddy Considine, an absolutely hilarious Andy Serkis as madcap producer Martin Hannett and a perfectly cast John Simm as Bernard Sumner. On a side note, when asked about the film Bernard Sumner commented ‘A film about the biggest cunt in Manchester, played by the second biggest cunt in Manchester’.
The first half of 24 Hour Party People can hold it’s head up high with any biopic, musical or otherwise, as it focuses on the rise and tragic fall of Joy Division and the beginnings of Factory Records. The second half, touching on the opening of the Hacienda nightclub and the emergence of The Happy Mondays is not quite as compelling but always funny and visually interesting.
24 Hour Party People is a film full of charm and laugh out loud humour throughout, plus the soundtrack is predictably wonderful and controversial director Michael Winterbottom has a visual flair that drives the story. If you are interested in the 80’s/90’s Madchester scene then 24HPP is essential viewing.
‘I don’t know if there is anything wrong because I don’t know how other people are.’
(takes a deep breath). Right… where to start with this one… This is probably the most boring, slow, devoid of anything at all movie I have ever seen (with the possible exception of The English Patient but that is just not my kind of film).
Even Richard Gere loses interest about 45 minutes in and just spends the rest of the film in darkened rooms talking on phones to people who may or may not be real. The ‘prophecies’ of mothmen are a little premature as they have about 50 seconds of screen time.
This all builds to a painfully meh crescendo of something happening on a bridge. I would literally rather watch a packet of custard creams for 1 hour 58 minutes than waste any more of my time with this. I would rather be the gerbil up Richard Gere’s ass than have to watch him look as bored as I was with the endless nothingness that is happening around him.
Before this, Tekken was the worst film I had ever seen, but bearing in mind this film had a budget of £32 million (!) I think I might have a new winner. 0/10