The Equalizer: What Defines You?

Columbia’s “The Equalizer”

Do our circumstances define us? Or do we define our circumstances?

Can we change our world in order to change ourselves?

These are the questions I am left with tonight, and not exactly the questions you would expect to be considering after watching a movie you expect to be an action adventure. Tonight, my expectations were turned around.

Denzel Washington‘s Robert McCall, the Equalizer, is probably one of the few expectations you enter the movie with which survive through to the credits. He is, without a doubt an amazing actor, and in this performance, he makes you realize that there is more than you would expect at first blush.

We all have expectations we live with day in and day out, and we all feel bound to a world we don’t always feel we can control. Our expectations are married to our world, to the way we perceive our surroundings. The Equalizer asks important questions about those expectations, and about the our own personal worlds in which we blissfully, and ignorantly, accept as unchangeable. 

I won’t presume to spoil the movie – one that is surprisingly cerebral in the themes is presents. When you enter the movie, you can expect to bear witness to explosions, gun fights, knife fights, and even mallet fights (hey there was a mallet in a trailer – don’t cry spoilers on me). Those expectations will be met.

But they aren’t the only outcomes from this movie.

You can walk in and expect only excitement, and you won’t be disappointed. If you are like me though, you might be left with some questions as well. Can we change? I think McCall proves that we can try, and that we might succeed, but we might also fail. Of course, you might also find yourself in between the two, as I think he did. 

We like to paint the world in black and white, right and wrong. We like to think in a binary way. Computer software may work in this way, and we may want to believe the world works this way but there is always a middle ground. Sometimes, you have to embrace who you are to make a change, and those changes, while small, can be life altering. They can balance you. And, forgive me here, they can equalize the two sides of the equation.

I hope you all have a chance to see this movie, and I hope you enjoy it. If you take anything away from it beyond your expectations of an action adventure roller coaster, and even if you don’t, I think my hope that you enjoy this movie will be realized.

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