The film is set in a dysfunctional future where all human emotions have been suppressed in the name of social order.
Beyond that, the plot is a cliche. Hoult and Stewart play young automatons who give into their baser impulses and fall into lustful love, defying society and their families. William Shakespeare is likely spinning in his grave.
Movie critic Alonso Duralde put his finger on the problem in The Wrap.
“Feels cobbled together from George Orwell, ‘THX-1138,’ ‘The Giver,’ perfume commercials and the Apple Store. Heck, before this thing’s over,[screenwriter Nathan] Parker even steals one of Shakespeare’s better-known end-of-Act-II plot twists,” he writes.
Only two things appear to be saving the film at this point.
First, it’s been lightly reviewed so far after being screened at the Venice Film Festival last September. The film has a rotten 42 rating on rottentomatoes based on 17 reviews.
That may change next week. The Drake Doremus-directed film is scheduled to be screened at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. It will get wider exposure there to U.S. reviewers.
Of note, critics for trade rags Variety and Hollywood Reporter are split on the film. And it’s gotten one heavyweight endorsement so far from celeb-obsessed Vanity Fair magazine.
The second thing going for it is its lush cinematography and “Romeo and Juliet” overtones. Sure it’s been done ad nauseum. But young adult moviegoers seem to have an infinite appetite for love-against-all-odds movies, no matter what the setting.
That puts the burden on Stewart and Hoult to play their parts convincingly. Hoult has showed his range in the “X-Men” movies and more recently “Mad Max: Fury Road.”
Stewart no so much. Aside from the 2012 Beat film “On the Road,” where she played the fast and loose Marylou, Stewart has made uptight females her forte.
From the “Twilight” series, “Welcome to the Rileys” and “Camp X-Ray” to “Clouds of Sils Maria” and “Still Alice,” her characters are wound so tightly it’s hard to see her any other way.
Even in “Snow White and the Huntsman,” her character was so emasculated by earnestness she was virtually unlikable. And Snow White was supposed to be a fairy tale princess!
However “Equals” plays out, Stewart may never be able to top her “Twilight” honeymoon orgasm.
Yet, despite it all, she still exudes arresting come-hither sexuality, which is on ample display in the new trailer.
“Equals” will be released on DirecTV on May 26, and hit theaters July 15 for a limited run.
Check it out below, and Stewart’s stunning photos. Let us know your thoughts and be sure to follow IM on Twitter for the latest movie news.