• by Wes Singleton

Equals, C-

Rated PG-13, 101 minutes

Original science fiction films are an interesting case, they can work well ("District 9" is a good example), or not as effectively, as with the intriguing but sullen new sci-fi romance "Equals" from director and writer Drake Doremus, whose 2011 indie hit "Like Crazy" gave greater exposure to the late Anton Yelchin. Nia (Kristen Stewart) and Silas (Nicholas Hoult) work together in a futuristic society known as the Collective. A seemingly utopian world, the Collective has ended crime and violence by genetically eliminating all human emotions. Despite this, Nia and Silas develop a growing attraction that leads to a forbidden and passionate romance. As suspicion begins to mount among their superiors, the couple must choose between going back to the safety of their lives or risking it all to try and pull off a daring escape. "Equals" is an interesting but plodding, bland look at what happens to love when a futuristic dystopian society tries to rid itself of it. Most everyone wears white in this expressionless society, and it never seems so dull; as the couple who fall in love and then attempt to escape the society that is forbidding their love, both Stewart and Hoult (of "X-Men" fame), are compelling, but the screenplay from Nathan Parker, based on Doremus' story, is so uninvolving and passionless you may have trouble staying awake. The parallels of this disease to HIV is an obvious and ironic one, given that HIV occurs from lack of precaution, and this is due to being overly cautious and from having an feelings at all, but the story itself lacks a central, strong emotional core. The film has a memorable production design (albeit mostly in gray, white tones) but with little in terms of visuals, and Guy Pearce and Oscar-nominee Jacki Weaver appear in small supporting roles as part of a few who are aware of the couple's attraction to each other. "Equals" has a few good moments, especially in the final act, but it's such a boring, lackluster time getting there all you may remember is all those people wearing white.

#equals #kristenstewart #nicholashoult