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Kristen Stewart in Equals (2016).

2 out of 4 stars

Title
Equals
Written by
Drake Doremus and Nathan Parker
Directed by
Drake Doremus
Starring
Nicholas Hoult and Kristen Stewart
Classification
PG
Country
USA
Language
English

If you walk into Equals partway through, you might think you've stumbled into the latest young adult blockbuster. The checklist adds up: Angst-ridden love story between two twentysomethings caught in a dystopia? Seemingly insurmountable obstacles standing in the way of said love story? Numerous close-ups of Kristen Stewart biting her lip? Check, check and check. But despite its YA trappings, Equals – which focuses on a futuristic society where emotions are viewed as an incurable disease – has a bit more to offer than the Twilights and Divergents of the world. It distinguishes itself with artful use of repetitive themes, carefully and sometimes beautifully photographed: the herd-like way people move, the sameness of their uniforms, the continual use of backlit silhouette cinematography. Unfortunately, Drake Doremus's film also tries too hard. The scenes between Stewart and co-star Nicholas Hoult tend to be long and lingering, even bordering on dull, and the melodramatic music grows bothersome. By the time it reaches its abrupt ending, the only emotion audiences might be left with is boredom.

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