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Children of Men review

December 19, 2006

Based on a book.

CAST

Children of Men certainly has a group of strong actors and actresses. Clive Owen plays the unlikely hero who is swept into the struggle to escort a young woman, played by Claire-Hope Ashitey, to safety. Michael Caine, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Julianne Moore, Pam Farris, and an amazingly, unrecognizable Charlie Hunnam round out the remainder of the primary cast members. The secondary characters are played perfectly throughout. The cast as a whole lent a realism and believablility to the story and its setting.

Before watching the film, I feared that Owen and Moore would ruin what potentially could have been a good film. Owen surpassed my expectations, and Moore didn’t hinder the film in any way. In fact, she was probably a good a cast for the role as anyone could be.

CAST = 19

SOUNDTRACK

A very nice cover of Ruby Tuesday was used at least twice during the film. Then an array of songs from artists ranging from John Lennon to the Aphex Twins was utilized along with some Shostakovich, Prokofieff and what I assume was original scoring. Apparently, there was also some music that referenced the Holocaust and refugee camps in general that really helped to create the somber ambience that pervaded much of the film. As a whole, the soundtrack worked quite well.

SOUNDTRACK = 18

QUOTE/CATCH PHRASE

Children of Men isn’t exactly a comedy, and as a result there were few candidates for reference in this category. Not surprisingly, one of the best lines is voiced by Michael Caine’s character who says, “Everything is a mythical, cosmic battle between faith and chance.” Such an all-encompassing statement is obviously intended to sum up the theme of the film, and this particular line doesn’t disapoint in this regard. Admittedly, the line sounds a tad pretentious out of context, but I think it works. It doesn’t hurt that Caine said it.

QUOTE/CATCH PHRASE = 18

STORY

The story is what first attracted me to the film. In 2027, the world is crap. For some reason, perhaps a flu pandemic, humanity has become sterile. The youngest people on the planet were born around 2009. The fear and hopelessness of infertility magnifies the existent conditions to the extent that nations and governments throughout the world crumble into chaos. Britain, the paradigm of stability and tenacity, is the only nation able to maintain a modicum of order, but at a significant cost.

All immigrants are turned away. The landscape is riddled with pollution. The average citizen carries on in a world of constant supervision and surveillance not too disimilar to present day Britain. The wealthy, predictably, maintain a superior condition of well-maintained parks and beautiful manors. Even Michelangelo’s “David” remains mostly intact within the confines of a rich art collector’s personal gallery. Even among the extremely wealthy however, the world is without hope.

Out of the despair comes a young, pregnant woman. A resistance group plans on transporting this unique mother-to-be to a remote island location which houses a resource facility. There, the mother and child can be safe, and potentially can facilitate the means of mankind’s continuance. Political disagreements within the resistance group forces Owen’s character to guide the expectant mother to the rendezvous with the researcher’s boat. As expected, the journey through Britain’s slums and refugee camps prooves difficult as rogue resistance members and the military hunt down the pair.

STORY = 19

REWATCHABILITY

I must confess that I was slightly disapointed when I saw the story in action. It seemed somewhat unlikely to me that the only nation with stability is Britain, even if it’s a police state. Why would infertility cause a complete breakdown of all other societies? I suppose the story required a world of complete hopelessness in order to work, but I would think other nations would experience some semblance of order. Terrorism and war continued to exist even when such a stark reality should force those involved to reconsider. I guess I have more faith in humanity than I originally thought, or maybe it’s just my American pride getting the better of me.

At any rate, I just watched the movie, and I am all for watching it again. I couldn’t see myself watching it more than say, once a year or so, but it is certainly a strong enough film to warrant future considerations. Director, Alfonso Cuaron, who also helped write the script, did a fantastic job. With the exception of the aforementioned pause due to political instability throughout the world, his portrayal of life in Britain seemed quite believable.

The characters were not merely some caricatured two-dimensional cutouts, but dynamic and realistic beings. Some amazingly lifelike special effects really impressed me as well. I had to remind myself that a particular scene couldn’t possibly be authentic, but it was as close an approximation as I have ever seen. The ambient sounds of bullets whizzing by coupled with the visually dismal conditions of the refugee camp helped draw me into the action. I could almost smell the filth and the death. It’s quite possible that I appreciate the filmmaking more than the film itself, but either certainly serve to set this film apart.

REWATCHABILITY = 16

TOTAL SCORE = 90

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Nick permalink
    December 19, 2006 3:44 pm

    Hey Lister, did you know that Julianne Moore is originally from Fayetteville, North Carolina.

  2. December 19, 2006 4:12 pm

    Yeah, I saw that. Her dad was a military judge, and she ended up moving around a lot.

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