Children of Men
Alfonso Cuaron :: U.K., USA :: 2006 :: 1h50
In the near future, mankind has become infertile. Although the reasons are unknown, the world is understandably in complete disarray. England combats the nihilism and lack of resources with an anarchy-fascist regime, who tries its best to safeguard its population by pushing out all foreigners and attempting to reverse the endless stream of desperate refugees. Amidst the ideological dilemmas and the physical struggle to survive, Theo is reluctantly is drawn into protecting the most precious gift mankind has recieved: a young lady named Kee, who bears the hope of all mankind.
To those who have read the book, or a synopsis for that matter, they will expect, the movie to rest heavily on the originality of the tale. Their expectations will be surpassed. It is very difficult to make such an apocalyptic movie convincingly, and the director uses some interesting tricks to accomplish it. For one thing, the movie gets up close and personal with Theo, often following him closely, seeing more or less what he sees leaving the rest to the imagination. There is some excellent work with images and attention to detail (pets abound as substitute children, the post-industrialist countryside, the filth and depravity of urban life), as there is with the enveloping sound which really puts you in the middle of it all.
Bear in mind, though, that a lot of the realism is quite hard to take, recalling images of Nazi Germany or Guantanamo Bay, and mixing it in with the dystopia. Whether or not the Guantanamo Bay imagery (dogs, cages and bags over heads) is supposed to be a criticism of current events, or just there for the ‘realism’, it works in upsetting the audience. Theo’s character is well worked out, with plenty of little details to make a case for his existence which helps charge the emotionally difficult set-up. His reluctancy at being the hero does not stop his bravery, but he never picks up a gun. Although not devoid of humor, the movie is mostly a dark affair. If you think you can take it, definitely go and see it for yourself, it is spectacular.