Throughout the film, Brandt is seen smiling and displaying other emotions especially when he arrests Preston for being a Sense Offender. DuPont also offends but his offences are much more subtle.

Is there an explanation why no one reacts to these "offences"?


3 Answers 3


Prozium eliminates the extremes of emotion

It does not eliminate emotion entirely: while cultural pressure leads people to suppress even minor emotions, small emotional displays are not unknown or impossible.

When Brandt shows extreme emotion in public (kicking Preston and shouting about his victory) the crowds react appropriately. Official actions aren't taken because the plot is about the official channels being controlled in order for the characters to be manipulated into a certain situation.


Brandt Smiles while sparring and mocking Preston, soldiers panic and exhibit fear on two occasions before preston kills them. I also considered these plotholes along with the paradox that it's their FEAR of war that's causing them to try to eradicate all emotion, but then I reasoned that with absolutely no emotions the movies premise would go out the window so it must be that emotions are simply suppressed to the best of peoples ability, when they stop trying to suppress them they are sense-offenders.


Many people don't realise this, but Equilibrium is a loose interpretation of Fahrenheit 451, the Ray Bradbury novel filmed by François Truffaut (!!).

There are huge variances that are largely unaccountable, but the basic essence remains the same; we have a protagonist originally a Fireman who is tasked with burning works of art, but more recently a Grammaton Cleric who hunts those who would harbor such items.

The agenda is the same, however; The dystopian society has identified that the human species is capable of tremendous acts of cruelty, due to it being susceptible to emotion.

Emotion in both cases could be considered a broader handle for human irrationality. The parts of human nature that can't be quantified and hence regulated and controlled. When Partridge (Sean Bean) is found indulging in Yeats' "He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven", Preston is unwilling to reciprocate because, in a society that has exterminated the irrational, there is nothing intrinsically special about prose.

The emotional inhibitor itself, Prozium, is a not so subtle Portmanteau of Prozac and Lithium. The purpose of these chemicals, in " reality " is to serve as Beta-Blockers: subduing and regulating not only the heartbeat and physical manifestations of anxiety and stress, but the psychological symptoms also.

The real crime, in both films, is the authoritarian monopoly on the concept of 'feelings' as inherently negative, justifying their candidacy for state control. 'Feelings' exist, with or without Prozium, but only the useful aspects of them are encouraged.

Both Brandt and Dupont exhibit Pride, but because it is pride that enforces the repressive state apparatus, it is accepted: even encouraged. If such an outburst were to question the ideological viewpoint of 'Father', only then would it be identified as a 'Feeling' and outlawed.

This may seem like a digression, but the point is both texts are circulating ideas of censorship. In Fahrenheit 451, cultural artifacts are interdicted because they stimulate ideas and concepts beyond the approved state position. Equilibrium, as the progression of this, has prohibited the emotions themselves; But only those which are deemed 'dangerous'..that is to say, any that stimulate dissension.

  • There is more to be said on this, and maybe better said too, [scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/27074/… Aug 2, 2013 at 0:10
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    Only the second- and third-to-last paragraphs seem to actually (and incompletely) address the question being asked. The rest is an interesting but tangential discussion which hides the answer's actual value in relation to the question.
    – BESW
    Aug 19, 2013 at 16:50
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    You must be aware that Ray Bradbury, the author of Fahrenheit 451, has denied that the book is about censorship. Personally, I'd take his word for it. I won't try to guess what François Truffaut (whoever he is) thinks it's about.
    – user14111
    Oct 27, 2014 at 13:02
  • John Smith Optional DOES answer the question--most particularly at the end (re. "dangerous emotions" to the state apparatus vs. "encouraged" ones—as he touched on earlier) and his discussion of censorship helps explain how he came to that conclusion. Though I disagree overall; I think dismissing 'Prozium's' role as an entire emotional suppressant—as if the drug can pick and choose which emotions one can feel, with or without state sanction / approval—is a REALLY big stretch, he did offer a more detailed and considerate answer than others: one that certainly warranted more than a downvote. Nov 2, 2016 at 10:07

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