15 January 2007
Children of Men
Joe and I just got back from seeing "Children Of Men". Wow - what a movie. The cinematography was incredible in expressing the despair of the time and events taking place. The story itself was a dark and compelling thriller and centred around the ideas of what would happen in a world without hope. It had your typically British "glimmer of hope" ending (versus a bubblegum, trumpet-fanfare, wave-the-flag Hollywood ending).
I was completely drawn into this film. Its always interesting to see how different directors view the future. Alfonso Cuarón's view is fascinating.
The year is 2027, eighteen years after the last baby was born. Women have mysteriously become sterile and the entire world has fallen into chaos and war due to the despair of a dying species. Britain attempts to maintain a semblance of orderly society with the introduction of martial law in the form of a police state, with a forceful anti-foreigner and anti-immigrant policy. These people are routinely rounded up and either shipped out or sent to interment or refugee camps.
The world's youngest citizen has just been stabbed, he was only 18 years old. The movie focuses on Theo (Clive Owen), and Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey), a woman who is miraculously 8 months pregnant. It inadvertently becomes Theo's duty to get her to saftey. Children of Men offers a diverse cast including of course Clive Owen as the hero, Michael Caine as a kinda hippy philosopher confidant of Theo's, Julianne Moore as Theos ex-wife activist turned terrorist, Chiwetel Ejiofor as the rebel leader hunting down Theo and Kee, and of course newcomer Claire-Hope Ashitey as Kee.
The movie was mainly filmed with a hand held camera which only adds to the experience. You may have also heard of some specifics relating to the camera work. Such examples are one of the car chase scenes, and the battlefield at the end. The car chase works so well because it feels like the cameraman is a ghost, and not actually there because the camera gets such wonderful shots. The scene near the end was absolutely amazing in the sense that there was action action action, yet the camera was continually rolling and wasn't edited. To add to the realism, blood spatters on the lens, but it is kept there for sometime afterwards. Children of Men will most certainly not get a Best Editing nomination come Oscar time.
Children of Men is visually and technically perfect. Each scene was brilliantly detailed and thought out, leaving us with plenty to admire. I am still in awe that they were able to pull off the final battle scene in one long unedited take until the jaw-dropping final scene occurs. Fantastic. And yes, the ending is pretty much sad with a glimmer of hope. I won't give away the ending though....
It was a great pick for a movie for us since we haven't been out to the theater in ages due to the quality, screenplay, and cinematography, but the hopelessness and despair throughout most of the movie was quite sobering. Dystopic future worlds seen through the eyes of these directors always fascinate me, but in today's negative collective mood, the ideas seem more foreboding.