Movie Review-Children of Men

Thursday, January 18, 2007


Written by May Warren

The film Children of Men takes place in a distopian London twenty years from now. It’s the year 2027 and the world’s youngest human being has just died at the age of 18. Women have inexplicably become infertile and civilization has collapsed. Only Britain soldiers on. Illegal immigrants are everywhere and are run down by the British government who obviously have not handled this crisis very well.

The film's protagonist Theo, played by Clive Owen, is a disillusioned Londoner whose lost all faith in humanity after the death of his baby son back in 2009. That is until a resistance group headed by his ex-wife Jillian (Julianne Moore) kidnaps him, and gives a unique responsibility: get the first pregnant woman in 18-years (Clare-Hope Ashitey) to safety.

We’re never exactly sure where he’s going, which is the first of many contradictions and confusing elements in the film’s grim portrait of the future. What happened to the rest of the world and why was Britain was able to survive in the midst of all this destruction? Based on the book by P.D James it’s clear that perhaps this premise was stronger in literary form, as the movie seems have several loose ends.

That being said, the film has a superb cast and an enthralling premise. Spiced with a soundtrack of “oldies” from the good old times of 2003, the movie presents a haunting version of the future that is fascinating to watch. Director Alfonso, Cuaron creates an arrestingly desperate version of London that is both tragic and intriguing, by working in common landmarks like St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Millennium Bridge and the Tate Modern art gallery. Cuaron’s world without children is a world without humanity and by far one of the most terrifying versions of the future yet.

Theo’s struggle to save what may be humanity’s last chance from warring resistance factions, brutal soldiers and greedy mercenaries is fascinating as it unfolds, but at its best at the beginning, when the viewer is first introduced to this world and eager to know more about it. Near the end the film disintegrates into one big battle scene with far too much blood and gore, but its ending is both surprising and original, offering a real sense of hope. Owen carries the film as an imperfect but noble hero and Clare-Hope Ashitey offers a realistic portrait of a confused young girl carrying a desperately needed baby.

Although far from perfect the movie will keep you on the edge of your seat and at the same time shake you up (maybe we should start making contingency plans for this end of the world thing now). Overall it’s a smart thriller with relevant political undertones and deserves a second look.

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