Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Welcome to Libria. The 'Big Brother' city created after the Third World War. There is no hate, no jealousy, no emotion whatsoever in this society. At least, that is the goal.
There can be no art, no music, no mirrors even. Nothing that would create feelings because feelings are what lead to hatred, violence and to war. Sameness and unity replaced individuality. Everyone dresses the same and everyone thinks the same in this world.
Christian Bale is a 'Grammaton Cleric', a sort of police officer whose job fores him to arrest people for 'sense crimes'. He also discovers any and all items that can entice feeling and ensures they are destroyed. His own wife was killed by the state for this crime.
Everyone in the state injects themselves with a drug (Prosium) that helps suppress their emotions. How anyone can keep emotions out for very long is at the heart of this film.
Those who can't suppress feelings are sent out into the neather regions where they are hunted down and their illigal contriband (like the Mona Lisa) is burned. They try to fight back against the state police but it is all but impossible especially while up against the preternatural skills of the Clerics.
Clerics are expert as a kind of marial art called 'gun Kata' which serves to maximize their killing abilities by a degree approaching superhuman. These exercises increase the efficiency in gun battles by 120 percent. It makes the clerics virtually unbeatable against numerous opponents, even in the dark.
Soon Bale himself start to break down and he starts to feel emotions. First it's a sunset then the feel of a steel handrail. Then it's a song and a snow globe. All of this of course was inevitable.
His exposure to feelings fills the deep hole within his soul and he begins to question his life and his world. It isn't long before the hunter becomes the hunted. Bale's parter, played by Taye Diggs, becomes his nemesis when Diggs begins to suspect that something is wrong with Bale.
For how long can one man resist the desires of an entire society that does not want change and will actively fight against such radicalism?
This movie was disturbing in many ways but not so much as when they killed the pets that people were keeping. Those yelps will stay with me like the 'silence of the lambs' stayed with Clarice. Bale's character has an encounter with a puppy and that would have been enough to get me switch over to the emotional side. Saving said puppy is the beginning of Bales desent into individuality.
The idea of an emotionless society is easy to imagine but very hard to implement. If someone so dedicated to the goals of his world as Bale can slip and become everything that he hates, it seems unlikely that a whole society could hold it together for very long.
Part 'Matrix', part 'Big Brother', this one had me interested from the beginning. Bale is the perfect person for this role. No one plays detached coldness quiet like he does and he has the action figure chops to play the role of avenger/revolutionary.
Posted by Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness at 1:33 PM