Mankind will destroy itself. We are incapable of living together indefinitely. Our very nature is to destroy the world we create. This is the sentiment behind many famous science fiction films, and in 2007 Children of Men takes up the task of painting a depressing future.
A beautiful dystopia
Mankind will destroy itself. We are incapable of living together indefinitely. Our very nature is to destroy the world we create.
This is the sentiment behind many famous science fiction films, and in 2007 Children of Men takes up the task of painting a depressing future. And how depressing it is. The setting is the year 2027, and 18 years of infertility have paralyzed the development of mankind. In the wake of this seemingly incurable end to human life, the structure of the world has disintegrated. While the film doesn’t go into exact detail, terrorist attacks and worldwide strife have led millions to seek asylum in the United Kingdom. These “fugees” are the ones who suffer most under the new regime of terror (it is a dystopic future, after all).
However, Children of Men isn’t just about the death of man-it is about the hope a single pregnant woman gives to all of those around her.
Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey) is a lost and confused young woman, a pawn in a power struggle among rebels who want to use her child to rally a revolution. What she does know is that she has to trust Theo (Clive Owen). What ensues is a chase, a flight of freedom for Kee and her child. Theo is thrust into a position of responsibility not by choice, but by necessity.
While the movie’s themes may sound unnerving (they are), the film itself is stunning. Using a color palette of grayish blues, the visual feel of Children of Men fits with the thematic elements perfectly. Extremely long shots of handheld cameras follow each scene in a natural way, so you can sometimes hear what you can’t see. This technique forces an unsettling feeling of closeness with the action on screen. It looks painful because it is painful. Director Alfonso Cuar퀌_n has created a rare masterpiece with his cinematic craft-a science fiction movie that is frighteningly real.
Clive Owen is damn near perfect in his role as Theodore Faron. He is both charmingly British and exactingly focused as a man who has long lost his faith in humanity. He is the center of Children of Men, what propels the film and makes it so engaging. There are many moments of intense action and destruction throughout the film, and Clive Owen’s character reacts exactly as a real person would. There are no clich퀌� heroics. He doesn’t grab a fistful of guns and bring down the entire system in a hail of bullets. But he does understand the importance of his mission as the protector of the literal salvation of mankind. All of the other roles in Children of Men are carried out with similar skill, and the cast as a whole lends the film all it needs to complete the picture. Claire-Hope Ashitey, as the pregnant Kee, encapsulates hope and earnest goodness at every turn-as any good savior should.
Children of Men transcends the genre from which it was born. It is technically amazing, beautiful, and unique in look and feel. It is also engaging and heartbreaking on the human level, nurturing a real dialogue with the viewer that only the best movies can. Children of Men provokes and absorbs, and it is easily one of the best films of the past few years.