Saturday, January 27, 2007

Children of Men Review

I have not been to the theatre in well over half a year, owing to the fact that most everything sucks ass these days. I've heard both good and bad about Children of Men, however I found the concept intriguing enough to get me to go and watch the film.

Children of Men is set about 20 years from now and women, for whatever reason, have become infertile. As a species we can no longer procreate and therefore the world will be devoid of human life in about 50 years or so.

Once the realization of this fact, that there is no future, hit home, the world plunged into chaos: Civial wars, religious cults, political revolutions, etc. are all common place, and the world has become dark and full of despair. One very strong way that Children of Men depicts this despair is through extreme violence.

Britain, however has fortified itself and is attempting to maintain order and peace within its own confines, however they are doing this through totalitarian means, by hunting down immigrants and taking away civil freedoms, which of course leads to political uprisings of its own.

Enter Theo (Clive Owen), an average man working an average job in this world filled with decay. After the early demise of the world's youngest human, and 18 year-old boy, shakes everyone to their core, a political activist group operating within Britain, lead by Theo's former partner Julian (Julianne Moore), abducts him and enlists his aid in helping with a miracle: to get the first pregnant woman in 20 years away from Britain and to the safety of a fabled humanitarian group outside of British law. As Theo aids the escape of the pregnant woman Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey), he travels through civil strife and all out warfare, soldiers clashing with regular people and activists.

What follows is one of the most gripping, graphic, and down right depressing films I can recall seeing.

Make no mistake, Children of Men is a thinking film, it is a film about empathy, a film about possibility. There is, of course, the very real possibility that infertility could hit our species, but the true sadness of the film is the degeneration of society itself in the face of such a tragedy, humanity further turning on itself instead of uniting to find a solution.

Children of Men is a great look at the darker aspects of humanity and what survival means. I personally believe that every single person, either unconsciously or consciously, strives to achieve one thing and one thing alone: survival of the self; it is the sole reason for everything that we do. By having children, we pass on our genetic code and ensure our survival, however if we can no longer reproduce, what purpose would there really be to much of anything?

The locations and sets of Children of Men certainly exemplify this feeling. Britain is a country under marshal law with soldiers and checkpoint everywhere (Reminds me a bit of City 17 from Half-Life 2). Outside, the world, the cities, the countries are a grey and bleak war zone filled with rubble, filth, and death. I also found it interesting to see how many shots deliberately showed how much pollution we were creating as a species, pumping out so much fume and waste. With humanity going extinct in 50 years, everyone stopped giving a shit about the environment.

One thing I didn't fully get though, it looks as though a lot of mutilation was going on with cows, but I don't understand why. There's certainly a lot of cow corpses out in the fields and wastes.

Past the despair, however, Children of Men is a film that does show hope, often through sacrifice. I can't go into detail on this without giving too much away, however suffice it to say that the film will take paths you don't expect, and it certainly doesn't end as you'd figure. Not that this is a bad thing, it keeps you into the film and from sorrow there is always born hope.

Children of Men is a film I recommend you go see, however go in their preparing to be both moved and depressed all at the same time.

1 comment:

Telly said...

Glad you enjoyed the film, Fearless Leader. We, the Staff (TM) saw it a two weeks prior and had a similar response to its message and themes.

One thing about the mutilated cow corpes: it could be an allusion to Mad Cow disease, and other possible cattle-based diseases. Perhaps they suspected a bovine-borne disease was responsible for human infertility?

-The Staff