A dystopian love story is one thing director Drake Doremus digs into his creative pot to bring to life in Equals – This gray and robotic world, however, should have been left for dead as its plot is just as dreary as the visual landscape and locations the audience is presented with.
Although Doremus has brought the frustrations and tenderness of relationships from his previous work into Equals this isn’t enough to inject the originality, let alone curiosity that it so desperately cries out for in its narrative.
We meet Silas (Nicholas Hoult) in a dystopian world – a world in which everyone wears white, in a colourless society. People are devoid of feelings and emotion, relationships – whether intimate or friendships – are frowned upon, in fact, it’s an arrestable offense which is encouraged to be reported to authorities.
Each person dines alone at their own individual tables and take walks by themselves. If there is even the slightest of a hint of male and females fraternizing there are massive consequences to pay. All of these ‘symptoms’ are classed as the virus SOS or switched-on-syndrome –which to those who have been diagnosed with it is a death sentence that is so horrific they take their own lives by throwing themselves of the balconies of tall soulless buildings.
Silas is an Illustrator in ‘The Collective’ going through his monotonous daily life as normal when he is diagnosed with the early stages of the ‘illness’. Trying to hide it from everyone around him it’s blatantly clear his colleague Nia (Kristen Stewart) has the illness too, but she is a ‘hider’ who manages to go undetected from the somewhat oblivious people around her. Silas however, takes not of her odd behaviour to strike up a friendship. This friendship, of course, becomes something of a dangerous love affair as SOS kicks in with maximum effect.
It comes to question why on earth did the likes of Hoult, Stewart and even Guy Pearce agree to make a movie which is very much style over substance – even if there touching performances can bring you to care very much about their characters.
Equals is very much a story that could be told in half the time it runs at, not even the last quarter of the film in which the pair team up with a faction of hiders to plot their escape can save this. Pretty much like the residents of this futuristic world, they only thing this will make you feel is dead inside.
Equals is available on VOD and DVD October 3.