Wednesday, 10 August 2016

REVIEW - EQUALS (DRAKE DOREMUS)


The heralding of a talent of only limited proportion leads to Drake Doremus' Equals, a woefully misguided futuristic romance that aspires toward classic sci-fi status, but falters at a lowlier level altogether - average YA adaptation status. The meaningful glances, the wistful tone, the swift, swoony editing, all hangovers from Doremus' last disaster, Breathe In, applied here to a (slightly) different concept. In fact, this film is the superior option in this comparison, due to its possession of a passable aesthetic scheme and a variety of strong performances. And yet Doremus squanders all his best attributes in service of adolescent sap, ever too faithful to his film's overarching ideas to acknowledge the skilled work put into realizing them. Though Equals lacks any purpose behind its visual design (or, indeed, behind any elements of its design), the sets at least provide some pretty distraction from the endless string of narrative platitudes. And dear Kristen Stewart is once again wasted in a film unworthy of her abilities; ditto Jacki Weaver, ever a most compelling presence and easily the film's most interesting character. But evoking one's interest is not in Drake Doremus' concerns, not unless you're sold already by the promise of limp depictions of young love between two pallid drips. Equals is a charmless prospect, rendered almost entirely as such by its director's devotion to this charmlessness. Alas, no film ever achieved the classic status to which it aspired by going only half in, but if Equals fulfills its own vapid, derivative mandate fully, that's certainly not a good thing.