Cast in Libria, a dystopian country of the future which outlawed emotions of any kind, the film follows John Preston (Christian Bale), an upper echelon enforcement officer called a Grammaton Cleric. Citizens have to take daily injections of drugs (Prozium II) to suppress their emotions and never, ever cause a war again. Or any crime at all. Still if it is all so good and noble why there are armed patrols in the streets? Why propaganda speeches are aired 24/7?
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. Ultimately, he aids a resistance movement using advanced martial arts, which he was taught by the very regime he is helping to overthrow. After that nothing will be the same again.
It is one of these movies in which Sean Bean dies early, proving he is a good guy after all. Apart from that you can recognize baddies instantly – those are the ones clad in black, shooting people and destroying objects of art because art might make you feel something. In order to make sure every idiot in every movie theater recognizes an object of art you get Mona Lisa in close-up. Yeah, that Mona Lisa – a portrait of an ugly chick done by Leo da V, currently in Louvre. Apparently the director thought that, if you do not recognize her you are probably just like those Clerics – so dumb that a concrete wall comes with a higher IQ by comparison.
Still destroying art is one thing, stopping to ogle nice women quite another. That was a big mistake, dear unfeeling leader of the future – why they don’t all wear burqas? Burqas for everyone! A nice face, after all, male or female, can move you as efficiently as the finest painting, sometimes even more. Puppies are even worse – nothing as deadly as a sweet puppy and poor Preston finds out that much to his cost. Undone by a puppy…anyway, Christian Bale in some fighting scenes reminded me of Neo from Matrix and Libria was like a universe parallel to many other classic dystopian tales. It didn’t bother me a lot because the director sneaked in some philosophy. You can’t have too many sci-fi movies with philosophy in it.
A surprisingly ambiguous movie. On the one hand you get those action scenes which seemed to have been assembled with sufferers of Attention Deficit Syndrome in mind and a quite simplistic plot, basically reheated tricks from other films combined. On the other hand it asked several questions concerning the meaning of art and feelings in your life. I don’t regret watching it but it didn’t move me as it should have.