Friday, July 01, 2016

What if you weren't allowed to appreciate beauty? (Thoughts on a movie)

Christian Bale as John Preston in Equilibrium 

Recently I watched a movie called Equilibrium that made a huge impression on me.

Wikipedia sums it up:

The film follows John Preston (Christian Bale), an enforcement officer in a future in which both feelings and artistic expression are outlawed and citizens take daily injections of drugs to suppress their emotions. After accidentally missing a dose, Preston begins to experience emotions, which makes him question his own morality and moderate his actions while attempting to remain undetected by the suspicious society in which he lives.
You know how some movies just really make you think? That's what Equilibrium did for me...I found myself thinking about it long after I finished watching it.

Feelings and emotions were outlawed because emotions can lead to anger and hate, which can lead to war.  But suppressing all feeling came at such a cost!

No feelings or emotions allowed

Living in a society where any feelings were outlawed has so many implications.  The characters had to have opaque screens over their windows, so they couldn't even appreciate the beauty of rain falling.

No books.  No music.  No artwork of any kind.  Just a bland, dark, colorless, emotionless existence.

 When Bale as John Preston makes the decision to stop taking the injections that allowed him to be emotionless, it was extremely interesting to watch the changes that began taking place in him.

He went from stoic sternness to being affected by things.  At one point, dogs are being slaughtered (apparently animals might cause emotions in the humans).

A dog runs up to Bale, and Bale picks him up.  You can see in the picture that he doesn't know what to do with the emotions that the puppy produces, especially when he licks Bale trustingly.

Bale gives some excuse and keeps the dog, saving him from the slaughter.

When exploring a hidden apartment full of normal (read: contraband) things, Bale becomes overwhelmed when listening to a recording of a classical composer (I forget which one.)

Can you imagine hearing music for the first time? Can you imagine NEVER being allowed to hear music?

The leaders of that fictional society were right...feelings and emotions cause hate and anger, which leads to war.  But they also cause beauty, charity and joy.

No spoiler intended, but thankfully the movie ends on a hopeful note.  It really affected me and made me ponder on some things.

And it literally made me glad for all the countless incidents of beauty, feeling and emotion I'm allowed to experience on a daily basis.  Thank you, God, for giving us such an incredible, rich and amazing treasure trove!

(Note--if you decide to watch this movie yourself [it's on Neflix] there is quite a bit of violence in it.)

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