The Equalizer has Subtle Undertones


The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why

– Mark Twain

If you have no idea why you would be reading a lovely, philosophical quote at the beginning of an action movie, do not fear – it’s not long until you find out why. (WARNING: This movie is not for the faint-hearted.)

It seems Robert McCall, brilliantly played by Denzel Washington, was born to right wrongs in the most violent way. A seemingly quiet man who is trying to live his life in the peaceful solitude that routine brings, McCall is a paternal figure, mentoring and guiding those around him.

Befriending a fellow regular at his local all-night diner, McCall feels that he cannot continue standing idly by while the regular suffers from the back lash of her harsh life.

Although some reviews are labelling it as the same as every other revenge-action movie, The Equalizer has subtle undertones in its characterisation.

Each night at the Bridge Diner McCall reads a classic novel, one of which is Hemmingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, which is shown in the trailer. The plots of the books he reads parallel his life, giving the movie’s story arc elegant undertones.

The old man met his greatest adversary just when he thought that part of his life was over. Old man’s gotta be the old man, fish has gotta be the fish. Gotta be who you are in this world, right? No matter what.

Washington himself contributed to fleshing out his character, giving McCall Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and refusing that he wear a suit lest he stand out from the crowd (IMDb). McCall’s OCD gives the movie’s storytelling detailed touches, and scenes that you can nicely absorb. Without these particulars, you would indeed be left with a run-of-the-mill punisher film.


The movie was adapted from a 1980s television series.

The Equalizer is rated R in America, but only MA15+ in Australia, something I find to be backward, since video game ratings tend to be the other way around.



Information and image sourced from:

IMDb. 2014. “Still of Denzel Washington and Chloë Grace Moretz in The Equalizer (2014).” Image. Accessed October 14, 2014.

IMDb. 2014. “The Equalizer (2014) Trivia.” Accessed October 14, 2014.


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