NPR logo
'Equalizer' Devotes Time To Character Development, Graphic Violence
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/351422403/352402898" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
'Equalizer' Devotes Time To Character Development, Graphic Violence

Movie Reviews

'Equalizer' Devotes Time To Character Development, Graphic Violence

'Equalizer' Devotes Time To Character Development, Graphic Violence
  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/351422403/352402898" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Denzel Washington stars as a retired intelligence officer in The Equalizer. i

Denzel Washington stars as a retired intelligence officer in The Equalizer. Scott Garfield/Sony Pictures hide caption

toggle caption Scott Garfield/Sony Pictures
Denzel Washington stars as a retired intelligence officer in The Equalizer.

Denzel Washington stars as a retired intelligence officer in The Equalizer.

Scott Garfield/Sony Pictures

When star Denzel Washington and director Anton Fuqua collaborated on 2001's Training Day, the film won Washington an Oscar and changed the trajectory of his career. Now they are together again.

The Equalizer is unapologetic in its excessive, frequently grotesque violence. But because it's got Denzel Washington as its star, it's more interested in character development than you might guess.

The movie takes a full half hour introducing Robert, Washington's character, as a seemingly ordinary Boston resident who has a nine-to-five job and never misses a chance to pass on a wide range of positive-thinking aphorisms.

"I think you can be anything you want to be," he says.

Robert is talking to a young Russian prostitute, played by Chloe Grace Moretz. He takes a fatherly interest in her and that turns him into the world's deadliest Boy Scout, able to create the kind of mayhem with a corkscrew that no sommelier would ever condone.

Robert's heroics bring to Boston a fierce Russian enforcer known as a sociopath with a business card. Does Robert back down? No he does not.

"I've done some bad things in my life," he says. "I promised someone that I love very much that I would never go back to being that person, but for you I'm going to make an exception."

The Equalizer echoes Clint Eastwood's brilliant Unforgiven by focusing on how strong and irresistible the lure of violence is for those who have indulged in it.

Now that Robert is off the wagon, it will come as no surprise that an Equalizer 2 is in the works.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.