Saturday, 19 September 2020
Children of Men
Written by Sandra Fitzpatrick   
Monday, 08 January 2007 00:00
With political affairs being what they are these days it’s not hard to imagine a world where mankind is on the brink of extinction. Cultures clash; always have, always will. Population climes as people live longer and longer lives. In the wild, nature has a way of controlling a population. If a species gets out of hand, famine or disease come along to put things back in order. Not so with humans who think we can outsmart nature.

Children of Men explores a not too distant future in which humans have lost the ability to reproduce, leaving the planet in a state of despair. It has been 18 years since the last child on the planet was born. With no hope for the future, humans have given up on futile attempts at peace. It is in this bleak and gritty vision of the year 2027 that we meet Theo (Clive Owen), the unlikely hero.

Getting up, grabbing that morning cup of joe and heading to work each day are Theo’s desperate attempts at normality. But circumstances plunge him into a situation that requires him to wake up and take control. A resistance group called The Human Project needs his help, and the stakes are high. Theo could be the only hope of all mankind.

I deliberately don’t want to give too much away about the story, although it will be hard to avoid hearing more. No doubt word of mouth will travel fast and you’ll be hearing a lot about this movie. Plug your ears. I think the less you know going in the better! Suffice it to say that Children of Men doesn’t fit neatly into any one category. Yes, it is classified as “Science Fiction” however you won’t see any spaceships or alien life forms here. This is a movie grounded in our own realities, existing technology with few embellishments, and very human issues.

There are obviously strong elements of drama here as well, balanced nicely with spectacular action sequences. The cinematography is stunning. One scene that blew me away is a continuous camera shot that follows Theo through the streets as bombs and gunfire goes off all around him. Turn a corner, cover behind a wall, creep through a broken down bus… the camera never stops rolling and the chaos doesn’t cease. I can only imagine how much work it would be to coordinate a scene like this. The film is told entirely from his perspective so you are always in the middle of the action.

Director Alfonso Cuaron has done some remarkable work in the past including the popular Mexican film Y tu mama también. He also directed my favorite installment of the Harry Potter series The Prizoner of Azkaban where he successfully transitioned Harry and the gang to a more contemporary style. Cuaron has outdone himself with this film.

It is only the first week of January, but I can almost guarantee that Children of Men is one of the best movies you’ll see in 2007. I give it 9 out of 10 stars.