Theo is a man that has lost all hope. This one-time activist is 20 years removed from the days when he was actually passionate about something, days when he actually had feeling and felt a sense of purpose. One day at a cafe he learns of the death of the youngest person in the world, this person was 18 years, four months, 20 days, 16 hours and 18 minutes old. After hearing the news he walks out of the cafe to a street you can easily relate to, only difference is it is November 2027. Placing his coffee down on a nearby newspaper stand he pulls a bottle of alcohol out of his jacket and pours a little into his coffee as the cafe he just left is blown to pieces due to a seemingly terrorist bomb. This is Britain. This is the best the world has to offer. This is Children of Men.
Directed by Alfonso CuarÃƒÂ³n Children of Men is easily one of the best films of 2006. It is a masterful piece of storytelling as this vision of the future is all too recognizable when compared to the world today. This isn’t Minority Report or I, Robot, there are no flying cars and the whole word isn’t made of plastics. CuarÃƒÂ³n has taken the headlines of today and given them a vision. If the steady course of things today went very bad on their way to 2027 this just might be where we end up.
Clive Owen stars as Theo, an anti-hero of sorts, who has lost his way. His hope for a brighter future has been diminished due to a personal tragedy in the past. He walks through life in a haze and as far as acting goes this might be one of Clive’s toughest roles to date as he doesn’t necessarily need to act, he just needs to go along with the story and put his faith in the hands of CuarÃƒÂ³n.
Children of Men is the most ambitious movie of the year. This ambition begins with the story, which depicts a world on the brink of disaster as plagues, war and famine have gobbled up the rest of the world and left Britain as the only real “safe” place to live and it is in a state of decay. Refugees are treated like prisoners at Guantanamo and with the worldwide infertility of women over the past 19 years, a fact people have come to accept, hope is a thing of the past. This plays heavily into the movie’s tagline, “No children. No future. No hope.” Hope may be lost, but this is exactly what CuarÃƒÂ³n uses to guide his story. If nothing else, Children of Men is a story of hope. Hope in the face of disaster, hope of a brighter tomorrow no matter what is going on around you. It’s just a matter of how do you inspire hope in someone when all hope is lost?
Based on the novel by P.D. James, CuarÃƒÂ³n takes the story and manipulates it to mirror several patterns occurring in today’s society. This gives the film an alarming sense of immediacy and thanks to a directing style you are fully immersed as several scenes can go on for at least five minutes without a single editor’s cut. This is something unheard of in filmmaking and CuarÃƒÂ³n pulls it off over and over again as if it was an everyday occurrence.
Owen let’s the camera guide him through the film and ends up turning in a fantastic performance, as do supporting players Michael Caine (who we get to see farting and smoking weed throughout), Chiwetel Ejiofor who can’t seem to ever turn in a bad performance, Julianne Moore whose character unintentionally becomes the catalyst of Theo’s awakening and newcomer Claire-Hope Ashitey as her plight is the focal point of the film’s massive journey against nature and virtual Armageddon.
Children of Men is a war zone. This is a film that holds on to you so tight and refuses to let go until the final moments when all you really want is one deep breath. It presents a bleak look at the future but it keeps with its main theme of hope, a theme you will certainly grasp onto once the entire story is revealed to you.