Equus is a latin word for “horse”. This story is about a psychiatrist who was asked to treat a young boy who blinded six horses in the stables he’s been working at. Their interaction turns out to be more complicated than expected; over the course of treatment both the doctor and the patient arrive at some understanding of their own inner essence. It’s an adaptation of a stage play by Peter Shaffer.
Theater is noticeable in every scene of the film; most heavily – in Burton’s monologues when he starts philosophizing. That doesn’t suit the movie very well, but makes it too sturdy, inelegant. The story evolves in a pretty slow manner, and frankly, most of it is quite boring. The fact that it turns out to be about destructive power of religion when applied to an immature mind, makes it seem trite somehow, – maybe because of excessive pathos.
However, the acting of Peter Firth in general, and the scene of the night of wrongdoing in particular, are astonishing. That rather long scene is so powerful, in fact, especially against the rest of the film, it almost atones for the dreariness, but no, that’s not enough.
All in all, the film is awkward and cumbersome, – not at all one of the Lumet’s best works.
Released in: 1977
Directed by: Sidney Lumet
Written by: Peter Shaffer
Performed by: Richard Burton, Peter Firth, Colin Blakely, Joan Plowright, Harry Andrews, Eileen Atkins, Jenny Agutter, Kate Reid, John Wyman, Elva Mai Hoover, Ken James, Patrick Brymer
Entertaining quality: 3+ out of 5
Art quality: 4- out of 5
IMDB page: link