Children of Men

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Published on: 2007.01.17

I’m still not sure why Children of Men took so long to get to the U.S. It was apparently released in the UK in September 2006, and then in New York around Christmas. Of course, it didn’t get to Oklahoma until mid-January.

But it was worth the wait.

Marline and I had been waiting to see this film since we first saw it advertised last summer.

Basically, the film’s about a society gone mad (pretty much an extension of current events, with a bucket-load of exaggeration), but on top of that, something really horrible has happened — women can’t conceive any more.

The movie never explains what happened to the world’s women, but offered some theories, like radiation, the government, and so on. But basically, believe that women can no longer conceive, and secret scientists with good hearts are trying to figure out why.

In the meantime, the evil government of Britain (which already took a big shellacking last spring, with V for Vendetta) is trying to kill ordinary people, especially those really nice illegal immigrants.

Whatever your stance on illegal immigration, this movie’s makers made it painfully clear what their stance was — that any attempt to enforce immigration laws is basically terrorism against innocent people. That aside, much of the government’s increasing power, as portrayed in the movie, sounded suspiciously like some of the bills that have recently been passed and that are on their way to passage.

But back to the movie, and away from politics.

Clive Owen brilliantly plays the down-and-out one-time father who’s called in by a secret society (headed by his ex-wife, Julianne Moore) to help the only pregnant girl in the world. The girl, Kee, is played by Claire-Hope Ashitey, a relative newcomer to filmmaking.

Owen’s character learns of the situation slowly, as it comes to him piece-by-piece. In the meantime, a rogue element takes over the secret society from Moore’s character, while Owen and Ashitey’s characters go on the run to save her as-yet unborn baby.

The acting, as you’d expect from Moore and Owen, is superb. There’s also a brilliant dash of Michael Caine thrown in for good measure.

There were moment when I was stunned by the cinematography, and the rest of the time, it was merely very, very good.

But perhaps the most impressive thing of all, to me, was the set design. The movie was set in the year 2027, and most “future” films make too much of an effort to “futurize” things. This one looked believable. The world created for the movie was one that I bought as authentic, a world that “could possibly exist” someday.

During the battle scenes, and in the refugee camps, I was consistently impressed with both the locations and the sets that were built.

The movie wasn’t over-awing like Blood Diamond (See my review here), or desperately needed, like V for Vendetta, but it was thought-provoking and just a thrill to watch. Some of the action scenes were startling, coming out of nowhere.

It’s rated R for strong violence, language, drug use and brief nudity, but you almost don’t notice these things, because the story is so good.

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