Saturday, October 28, 2006

Children of Men (2006), dir. Alfonso Cuaron

I’m not normally one for being nationalistic, but when it comes to dystopian future fantasies, no one does ‘em quite like us Brits. From George Orwell’s classic Nineteen Eighty-Four through Terry Gilliam’s 1985 film Brazil the pattern continues with Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men. I know what you’re thinking, "Neither Terry Gilliam nor Alfonso Cuaron are British!" But their respective efforts were both developed and filmed in this country… so there!

Children of Men is based on a P.D James novel set in the not too distant future where Britain is a police state and immigrants are second class citizens being loaded into camps; fallout from war and massive pollution mean everything is covered in a perpetual smog; worst of all the human race is dying out because women have lost the ability to have babies.

This is superior mainstream filmmaking, in a similar vein to Cuaron’s work on Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, still the best of the Potter films to date. Although Children of Men is more adult as fits the tone of the issues it address. One would like to see a great deal more of this from Hollywood, the story is driven by a genuinely interesting central idea with interesting characters and a narrative that involves several unexpected twists and turns, along with the added spice of a topical edge.

It still fits in enough set pieces to satiate even the most hardened thrill seeker, the hardened action often resembles Saving Private Ryan. Something achieved through audacious single camera takes, which place the viewer right in the middle of whatever is going on, in a very visceral way.

An added bonus is the performance of Michael Caine who is on top form playing an aged hippie who offers advice and levity to a brow-beaten Clive Owen. Highly recommended.


Blogger Daniel said...

I thought the movie was extremely tortuous. The central story on which the entire film was based (the fact women lose their ability to have babies) is highly unbelievable (simply because there is no evidence this has ever happened to any species throughout the history of the world). I generally enjoy anything (being books, documentaries, movies...) about societies their trends, but this story was absolutely boring and lame and I would not recommend it to anyone I had a minimum appreciation for. The story is not well explained, the characters are not well developed and overall I just get the feeling that whoever wrote this movie wanted to get noticed for being controversial and making a critique on modern society. And that could have worked and been a great movie (due to the investment that went into it) if the situation was based on any facts or evidence, but it was not. The worst part of the movie is the ending, I just cannot get over why anyone would want to make a movie such as this.

4:27 PM

Blogger Karic31 said...

I happened to enjoy this movie. I ended up seeing it twice, but not because I wanted to so much as because 'The Departed' was sold out second time round. But i enjoyed it on both occasions.

I thought the story was well explained and while the idea isn't plausible that is also the whole point of science fiction and fantasy isn't it?

I thought its image of a future where Britain stands alone as the whole world crumbles, whilst again not entirely plausible was a good concept in which to explore a very real future of totalitarianism under extreme conditions.

I have a question however, was this a British film with British funding? A British film with American funding or (and given the theme i doubt it) an American film with American funding?

p.s. For extra bonus points did anyone notice the 'London 2012 Olympics' hoodie being worn by the protagonist? I think that deserves a cheap lol - but a lol all the same.

2:09 PM

Blogger Eric said...

I did happen the notice the London Olympics hoodie - lol indeed, and well spotted.

As far as the idea being far fetched. Like a lot of science fiction, it is merely an extension of a modern day concern. Populations in the west have been steadily decreasing for some time now, and increased infertility is a worry. So, far fetched, but not as far fetched as it seems at first glance, maybe.

Your other question, Mr Paul is a very interesting one, and just to dissapoint, I can confirm, I don't know, for sure. But... I am fairly confident in my estimation that Children of Men is an American film. It was filmed in Britain with a predominantly British cast and crew, but the size and scale of the project suggests that it is a Hollywood film, made by a major studio.

12:14 PM


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