Once again, hi fellow users. So, just over a year ago, I finally had the privilege of seeing this, at least in my opinion, great sci-fi film that I had been meaning to see for a long time. In the aftermath, I did a proposal for Vice-Council DuPont, and it was one of the very first ones I did after changing my username, which was only shortly before that. However, I was honestly considering whether his main enforcer/lieutenant could qualify too, but brushed it off simply because he didn’t have as much authority/influence and wasn’t/isn’t listed in the category at all, whereas DuPont was. Now though, after watching it again, and for reasons I’ll get into, I think my reasoning for denying it was pretty weak, so here I am with a proposal for him too.
On a side note, if this character gets approved, believe it or not, including a couple of ones I did formality proposals for, it would be the 40th one I’m responsible for. I know, crazy right? Even though I’ve been a part of the Fandom community for almost 2 and a half years, I never imagined myself doing that many proposals and reaching that milestone... it just happened. Anyway, let’s get into it.
What’s the work?
Equilibrium is a dystopian sci-fi/action film from 2002 that was written and directed by Kurt Wimmer. In this fictional vision of the future, the totalitarian city-state of Libria has been formed in the wake of World War III, and all human emotions, as well as emotionally stimulating objects, have been outlawed, due to the blame being put on human emotions as the cause of all their past, destructive conflicts. Therefore, everyone takes regular doses of a drug called Prozium to suppress them. The story focuses on a particularly efficient and high-ranking “Cleric” named John Preston, who is tasked with detecting emotions when anyone exhibits them, and frequently raids properties both in the city and in the “Nethers”, AKA regions outside the city limits, to search for and destroy illegal materials like art, music and literature, as well as either execute the people hiding them or take them in to be executed in a different manner. Despite being considered a model enforcer for a while, one day, he accidently misses a dose of his Prozium and starts to feel emotions again, such as mourning the loss of his wife, who a few years ago, was sentenced to death for a minor display of emotion that made her a “Sense Offender”, leaving him alone with their two children. He then starts skipping doses intentionally and questioning the morality of what he’s tasked with doing/upholding.
Who is he and what has he done?
Andrew Brandt is an ambitious, career-driven Grammaton Cleric who ends up replacing Errol Partridge as John Preston’s partner after the latter ends up being forced to execute the former for taking interest in a book of poems and keeping it to read it. At first, he acts like he admires Preston for being a model Cleric and expresses his hopes that he can be as “uncompromising” as him someday. Like all Clerics, he engages in their usual activities of “enforcing the law” by doing things like raiding citizens’ houses for any forbidden materials that can incite any kind of an emotional reaction, and has anyone who’s found guilty of having such things, who are labelled as “Sense Offenders”, sent to the Palace of Justice for “processing”, which is just their word for execution. Anyone who is found guilty is subsequently executed by being placed in the furnaces underneath the city halls to be incinerated.
He also participates in raids conducted in the Nethers whenever members of a resistance group named the “Underground”, which opposes the totalitarian society and outlawing of any and all emotions, are found so they can shoot them on sight. During one such raid, Brandt participates in the murder of rebels, and later, along with Preston, comes across a bunch of dogs they were keeping as pets, with the women and children who were apparently defending them also being put down by the Sweepers accompanying them. Brandt then orders a Sweeper member to start exterminating them by going in and shooting them, except for one which escapes and starts licking Preston’s face. Preston, having recently gone off Prozium due to missing a dose, gets attached to it and takes it with him under the guise of deciding it should be tested for any diseases in case of an epidemic.
Brandt, of course, begins to get suspicious, and is implied to be, to some extent, responsible for a Sweeper team tailing Preston when he travels to the Nethers to try and release the dog. When he’s caught, he’s forced to murder the entire squad. Later, as he’s training with Preston, without outright accusing him of being responsible for it, he gloats to Preston that he’s glad it happened, because as a result, Father, the founder of Libria, and the Tetragrammaton Council have decreed an acceleration in the crackdown on offenders, meaning all whoever killed the squad accomplished was ensuring a quicker end to the resistance. Brandt then participates in a massacre of a raid in Sector 7, during which Preston tries to discreetly get a small group of rebels to safety. However, Brandt ambushes them with a group of Sweepers and presents it as Preston leading them right into their trap despite it being pretty obvious he’s onto the fact he was was trying to help them escape. Ignoring his insistence that they should be taken in for clerical interrogation instead by reminding him of Father’s new ruling , Brandt then tries to make Preston execute them himself under the guise of giving him the “honor” of doing it. However, Preston insists that he should have it since of course, he can’t bring himself to do it, with Brandt then having them ruthlessly executed by a firing squad.
Later, Preston makes contact with Jurgen, the leader of the Underground, who convinces him to help them carry out a plan to disrupt their Prozium production and assassinate Father. However, Vice Council DuPont, a high-ranking member on the council who Preston periodically communicates with, informs him of a rumor going around that there’s a traitor in the upper ranks of the Clerics. Later, when he breaks down over not being to save a woman named Mary O’Brien from being executed via incineration, Brandt catches and arrests him. However, Preston then seemingly succeeds at framing Brandt as the traitor since he swapped his gun with him during the earlier exchange when he was trying to get him to kill the group of rebels he was leading to safety, meaning Brandt was then in possession of the gun Preston used to kill the Sweeper team. Despite his insistence he’s not the traitor, Brandt is taken away to be killed while Preston is seemingly allowed to resume his mission of locating the resistance for DuPont. He then puts Jurgen’s plan in motion where he pretends to have him and all the other leaders arrested for execution via incineration to gain the government’s trust enough to be able to personally meet Father and assassinate him.
Unfortunately, while he is granted an audience with Father as they hoped, things quickly go awry, with all the accompanying guards turning their guns on him as soon as Father shows up onscreen, with Brandt also being present. As it turns out, Brandt was never arrested and it was all just a ruse since they knew Preston was the traitor all along. The image of Father also quickly disappears to reveal he’s really speaking to DuPont, who then reveals that Father really died years ago and that he’s been the one in charge of Libria ever since then. He also reveals that that whole time, he had hoped he could manipulate one of his Clerics into desiring to feel again so they would eventually contact the resistance, ally with them and try to help them overthrow his regime the way Preston did, only to deliver them to him on a silver platter so there would no longer be any threat to his rule over society. And of course, Brandt was in on all of this. However, DuPont soon regrets mocking Preston for leading the Underground to their demise, because Preston then goes into full one-man army mode, single-handedly and efficiently taking out first the bodyguards in the room, then the ones in the hallway leading to DuPont’s room. Upon entering, he notices paintings, a fancy chandelier and equally expressive furniture, all but telling him and the audience that he and Brandt are Sense Offenders themselves who have been prosecuting others all this time for something they do behind closed doors. After taking out the other Clerics DuPont has guarding him, Brandt tries to challenge him to a one-on-one match, only to be defeated by Preston in less than 10 seconds and killed when he slices his face off with his katana.
Nah, I don’t think he has any at the end of the day. In a similar vein to DuPont, at first, he seems like he’s just doing his respective job of maintaining Libria’s idea of order like any other Cleric and is on Prozium, meaning he’s not emotionally invested in any of the more immoral things they’re called upon to do. However, it becomes increasingly apparent and is pretty much outright confirmed at the end that like his boss, he’s very much not on the drug, meaning he’s actually a hypocrite who fully understands what he’s doing is wrong, but does it anyway for his own benefit. Specifically, he mentions a couple of times, most notably when he’s gloating to Preston after they’ve tricked him and he thinks they have him at their mercy, that “he told him he would make his career with him”. So going by what little insight we get into his motive, it seems pretty apparent he’s just using the whole situation of manipulating Preston into unwittingly helping them finally crush the resistance to his advantage to get into DuPont’s good graces. And that motive’s not the only proof he’s not on the drug; while the proof of DuPont’s hypocrisy comes from seeing the interior of his office and his outright admission that he feels when trying to convince Preston not to kill him when he has him at gunpoint, the proof of Brandt’s hypocrisy come from his repeated slip-ups when it comes to displaying emotions no one on the drug should have. For example, there’s the way he not-so-subtly and almost gleefully taunts Preston for accelerating the end of the resistance by killing the Sweeper squad, and that smug smile he keeps flashing, usually at Preston’s expense.
In addition to that, I don’t think there’s anything about his relationship with DuPont that’s mitigating. They only briefly interact twice, and there’s nothing in either case that indicates they really care about one another. After he’s defeated and killed by Preston, DuPont simply shows fear for his own safety, so if anything, it’s clearly just one of those partnerships that’s beneficial for both parties; DuPont wants to hold onto his power at all costs, even if it means having countless people prosecuted and executed for something he does behind closed doors, and Brandt’s an ambitious opportunist who will participate in such actions if it means becoming the most trusted lieutenant to the one in power. Therefore, like I indicated at the beginning of the section, I don’t think he has any redeeming features or any legitimate excuse for what he does.
DuPont may be the one who’s been calling the shots and either maintaining or creating these oppressive laws in place for what’s been implied to be a few years, but I’d say Brandt is pretty much just as bad in his own right for actually carrying those actions out for the selfish reasons of advancing his career and getting into DuPont’s good graces. If he were on Prozium like most of the other Clerics and Sweepers, he wouldn’t be any worse than any of them, but again, the heavily implied, if not apparent fact he isn’t, meaning he fully understands how immoral those actions are, makes it much worse. After all, he’s prosecuting and subsequently either personally executing, ordering the execution of, or sending people to their execution for something he’s guilty of himself. Something else that helps his case is that unlike DuPont, who is undoubtedly responsible for everything we see, but doesn’t get involved personally, Brandt actually does some of these horrible things onscreen, like participating in the violent massacres of rebels during raids, personally ordering a group of them to be executed via firing squad, though not before trying to force Preston into shooting them first knowing full well he’s started feeling, sympathizing with them and was really trying to help them escape, and of course, ordering a Sweeper to exterminate all those poor dogs for the crime of being considered things that elicit human emotions like care and protectiveness. Plus, especially upon rewatching the movie a second time and beyond, it’s pretty apparent he was manipulating Preston just as much as DuPont was, meaning he had an equal part in trying to have the rest of the Underground resistance, or at least all of its leaders and other significant members, sent to their deaths via incineration in the furnaces of the city halls to solidify their control over society. So yeah, I’d say one, he does enough to stand out as sufficiently vile enough, and two, he pretty much sets the heinous standard of the movie with DuPont.
At first I honestly wasn’t sure if he stood out as much as DuPont since he didn’t have the same level of power and authority. However, upon reexamination, and for all the reasons I gave, particularly the evidence that he’s just as much of a hypocrite who’s willing to have many innocent people (and animals like those dogs, of course) prosecuted and executed for something he does himself, and for purely selfish, opportunistic reasons at that, I think he’s just as bad as him, and if DuPont was approved, I see little reason why Brandt shouldn’t be as well. Thanks for reading!