January 2, 2013 1 Comment
Here is an old review of mine that still applies to the way I feel about the movie today after having just re-watched it.
According to this movie, the onset of a bleak global future will begin in the next two years (Note: this review was written in 2007). In Children of Men, the last human baby was born in 2009 and the movie takes place in the year 2027, with the world’s youngest person just having been killed. It’s a drab futuristic world, one where a person might question their own continued existence as part of a daily routine. As it stands, there’s seemingly no hope for the continued survival of the human race. Or at least there wasn’t until somehow one girl ends the infertility string by getting knocked up with the world’s first human baby in almost 20 years.
Alfonso Cuarón and a team of writers adapted P.D. James’ novel for the screen, with Cuarón handling the directing duties as well. The cast is comprised of screen veterans and solid character actors, assembled to tell this tragic tale of a potential future humans may one day have to face. The story is decent and intriguing, if not filled with holes and mystery. Yet, Children of Men still manages to be a great film, despite any shortcomings related to storytelling or imagination.
The strength of the film (besides having the awesome Clive Owen onscreen for almost the entire running time) is almost entirely a technical thing. There are a few extended scenes in the film that were shot in one take, immersing the audience into the story, making you feel as if you’re part of this whole tragic occurrence. And these aren’t just five minute scenes of two talking heads that I’m talking about here. These are scenes that are so complicated that they had to invent camera equipment to film them in the best possible ways. Filmmaking like that is near impossible to turn away from, keeping you wrapped up in an almost unbelievable story.
Another particular stylistic choice that I really enjoyed with the film was the version of the future that they used. This wasn’t Hill Valley 2015 with amazing and eye-popping changes. There wasn’t the feeling that you were in a futuristic world. Sure the cars looked a little different, but they weren’t flying or anything. Everyone still heads to the coffee shop early in the morning for their daily pick-me-up and there aren’t any sass-talking robotic maids. Other than the whole infertility thing, that’s a future I could almost get behind. Actually, that would also take a load of my mind too. Hmm.
The only gripes I have with the movie is that it doesn’t feel like it gets going anywhere until Julianne Moore’s character has a life-altering experience, and then the movie becomes a high tension thriller. Some of it is relatively predictable, and the storyline definitely seems to take a back seat to show off some of the more dazzling camerawork. All in all, it’s not the happiest of movies to experience, but there’s truly some amazing things to witness in the film.
4 / 5