The Equalizer brings to mind several other movies of the revengeful, annihilation genre. Unlike some heroes however, former Black-ops agent Robert McCall, has no qualms in literally taking the proverbial ‘eye for an eye,’ and does so with cool and calculated vengeance. His determination to right the wrongs wrought upon a young teenager enforced into prostitution by the Russian mafia, had this viewer riveted and silently cheering him along.
A modern day hero of the ilk of Batman, Spider-Man and Superman, McCall is more akin to Superman in that he quietly carries out his daytime job in a hardware depot in an unassuming and mild-mannered demeanor. At night however, he wreaks havoc on the unsavoury underworld inhabitants.
Who is the Equalizer and why does he feel compelled to act on behalf of the vulnerable and innocent? Denzel Washington plays the part of protagonist Robert, better known as Bob, and confesses that all he longs for is ‘peace.’ He attempts to restore peace to the victims of the subculture world and the methods he uses as the Equalizer returns the violence perpetrated on victims back to the instigators.
Bob’s vengeance is carried out in unemotional and icy-cool precision which in itself dramatises the stomach-churning and realistic violence the enemy are subjected to. There are psychological overtones to the drama.
In an interview with Independent News, teenage female lead, Chloe Grace Moretz, speaks about her role as Teri, the prostitute. ‘Sex-trafficking is a huge issue – and the scary part is it’s very real,’ she says. Despite her young age, Moretz plays her role with a balance of vulnerability and a tinge of street-smart bravado.
Marton Csokas (pronounced Cho-Kash) plays anti-hero Nicolai Itchenko, otherwise referred to as Teddy and his menacing role balances McCall’s deceptively mild character.
Antoine Fuqua, veteran director of music videos and film, is an undeniable master of his craft. He presents the story unusually in that the periods of destruction and gory action are counteracted by quiet, thoughtful and contemplative episodes wherein Bob astutely but precisely plans his vengeance. Fuqua uses the periods of inaction to such an extent that it creates more tension and nail-biting viewing.
The film is based on the 1986 television series which starred and won British actor Edward Woodward the 1987 Golden Globe award for Best Actor in a Television Drama Series.
Watch out for the unmistakable sound of Eminem who partially wrote, ‘Guts over fear.’ In a light-hearted moment, McCall also jokes to his fellow workers about having been one of the Pips in Gladys Knight and the Pips and the song ‘Midnight Train to Georgia,’ is heard.
In the café which McCall frequents and reads a book while he eats, Teri waits for her next call from her pimp. She asks McCall, ‘What’s your book about,’ and he replies, ‘It’s about a knight in shining armour, except he lives in a world where knights don’t exist anymore.’ It is an ironic but definitive reference to McCall’s role of the knight about to rescue Teri, the damsel in distress!
Washington excels in his role and is well supported by second-lead Csokas and the talented Moretz. This raises the possibility of sequels to the crime drama.
© Wendy Robinson 2014
We attract what we’re meant to because we’re aware and self-empowered enough to choose most of the time. Other times we have lessons to learn. ~ Jay Woodman