Equus is a very graphic film. It has a rare story. The writer Peter Shaffer came across a news while travelling english countryside where a stable boy had blinded six horses. He made a play out of it. This play was later adapted into a screenplay by him and Sidney Lumet directed a gripping horror mystery which keeps haunting you even long after you have finished watching it.
The dialogues delivered by Richard Burton and Peter Firth are so well written that you feel in awe of the words used. The archetype explored through this story is so profound and so masterfully done that this film should have received a wider critical acclaim ideally. But maybe for the graphical nudity and violent scenes- it didn’t do so well. Performances are wonderful and so is cinematography. Some scenes in the dead of the night where white smoke is visible in the translucent blue and white light look so magical and fantastic that they are almost mesmerizing. The religious obsession of the child with the horse and his deeply troubled psyche keep haunting and shocking the audience by way of the psychiatrist who is so vivid speaking in their face. The soundtrack is so pleasant and goes very well with the plot that I have only admiration for it. I have not seen many performances by Richard Burton but after watching this I found him very capable. I have heard a lot about Sidney Lumet but hadn’t watched any film by him before this one.
The conversations between psychiatrist and his female friend are almost as compelling as his sessions with his patient and maybe a little bit more. The psychiatrist also undergoes through a process of self-discovery via his unique patient. To consider this idea and make a play by developing it so fully and well is something for which Peter Schafer should be appreciated thoroughly and then to consider it worthy of being made into a film was indeed something which needed courage in 70s. Producers of this film and Sidney Lumet did a great job. I feel almost every scene of this film has an aura of uniqueness. It’s so well done that very few films match its excellence. Because of this I feel this might be one of the best films ever made, especially among those exploring dark corners of human psyche. I highly recommend watching this film if you like psychology and mystery and love great dialogues.
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