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2081 (2009)

 -  Short | Action | Sci-Fi  -  29 May 2009 (USA)
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A short film adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron, 2081 depicts a dystopian future in which, thanks to the 212th Amendment to the Constitution and the unceasing vigilance of the ... See full summary »



(screenplay), (short story)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Narrator (voice)
Lead HG Man (as James Burns)
Yuris Skujins ...
Stuttering TV Anchor
David Healy ...
Replacement TV Anchor
Alina Faye ...
Lead Ballerina
'Prima' Ballerina (as Becky King)
Ira Gold ...
Lead Usher
Florian Kashani ...
Lead Security Guard
David Conner ...
Solo Cellist
Bomb Specialist
Bomb Specialist


A short film adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron, 2081 depicts a dystopian future in which, thanks to the 212th Amendment to the Constitution and the unceasing vigilance of the United States Handicapper General, everyone is "finally equal...." The strong wear weights, the beautiful wear masks and the intelligent wear earpieces that fire off loud noises to keep them from taking unfair advantage of their brains. It is a poetic tale of triumph and tragedy about a broken family, a brutal government, and an act of defiance that changes everything. Featuring an original score performed by the world-renowned Kronos Quartet (Requiem for a Dream) and narration by Academy Award Nominee Patricia Clarkson (Far From Heaven, Goodnight and Good Luck), 2081 stars James Cosmo (Braveheart, Trainspotting), Julie Hagerty (Airplane!, What About Bob?) and Armie Hammer (The Social Network). Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

mask | future | hobble | talent | newscaster | See more »


Everyone Will Finally Be Equal


Short | Action | Sci-Fi



Official Sites:



Release Date:

29 May 2009 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


The film's director first came across the original story upon learning that 'Kurt Vonnegut' was the favorite author of a girl he wanted to date. The short story collection 'Welcome to the Monkey House' was the first Vonnegut book he read. See more »


Replacement TV Anchor: Please be advised that Bergeron is a genius and an athlete, is underhandicapped, and is considered extremely dangerous. If you see this man, please contact your local authorities immediately.
See more »


Version of Between Time and Timbuktu (1972) See more »

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User Reviews

Interesting Adaptation Of Vonnegut's Harrison Bergeron
19 April 2011 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

As the film opens we find ourselves in Vonnegut's dystopian world in the year of 2081: a world in which everyone is "finally equal". Society has taken it upon itself to make everyone every possible way. No one is faster than anyone else, no one is stronger than anyone else, no one is more talented than anyone else, and of course, no one is smarter than anyone else. As it is not possible to make stupid people as intelligent as others, to achieve absolute equality they have resorted to dumbing everyone down; making them mindless zombies bred to perpetuate mediocrity. The US head of state is no longer the President, but rather the "Handicapper General", whose job it is to dictate the handicaps that citizens must dawn in order to put themselves on an equal level with those who are deemed to not require a handicap.

As such, we find ourselves observing a couple: the wife is the mindless religious type, who never ponders on anything that may make her uncomfortable; never questions anything, let alone challenge authority; and who does not require any handicap as she is considered the standard of normalcy. Her husband, on the other hand, is heavily handicapped, and, via various cinematic techniques in conjunction with technical handicapping mechanisms, we are shown how these handicaps manifest themselves for the affected individual. In the case of the man we are observing, they seem to interrupt his reflections on past memories that the Handicapper General feels could lead to acts of dissent.

We find out more of what these memories are about when a "Breaking News" story interrupts the program he is watching to announce that "suspected Anarchist" Harrison Bergeron has escaped from custody. Arrested several years ago, Bergeron was charged with "propagandous vandalism, broadcast piracy, refusal to report for his handicapping evaluations, and blatant removal of his handicaps in a public place." The newscaster continues by stating that he is," an athlete and genius. Is extremely under-handicapped and considered to be dangerous."

When the regularly scheduled program returns, something is not right. Immediately the man whose room we are watching from whispers, "Harrison". Suddenly, a mech-Jesus-esque man that looks like he just escaped from a mental institution, but was unable to fully remove all the restraint mechanisms, takes over the stage, announcing that "there is a bomb in the theatre, and the detonator is in my hand". It's Bergeron; "the greatest man you've never known", and with a sense of utopian pride he rips off his handicaps after having orated a moving soliloquy meant to inspire the masses into throwing off their handicaps and joining him in a revolution against the oppressive system and Handicapper General.

In a last ditch effort to inspire the masses (while still being broadcast) Bergeron chooses a woman, gets her to remove her handicaps and together they show what can be done when given a chance, without handicaps. Subsequently we watch the counter-revolutionary police force move in, attempt to disable the broadcast, and the bomb.

Will Bergeron be successful in his attempt to catalyze an uprising, or will Counter-Revolutionary forces quell the revolution and maintain their debilitating stranglehold on power? At just over 26 minutes, Chandler Tuttle's interesting take on Kurt Vonnegut Jr's tale of absurdity- "Harrison Bergeron"- is well worth a watch, especially if you are a fan of dystopian films like I am. It's nicely shot with some funny moments, and worth it alone for Bergeron's rant. 6.5 out of 10.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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