Children Of Men


Reviewed by: Chris

Clive Owen on Children Of Men: 'Some films take more out of you than others, but I always have a good time'
"A powerfully devised, if heavily flawed, movie."

Imagine a few years from now and the "war on terror" has engulfed the whole world with Britain (ha! ha!) as the last refuge from attacks. The economy is in tatters - possibly to pay for the almost omnipresent Homeland Security - but the really bad news is that the human race has become infertile. Pregnant black woman, Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey), appears to Save The Day.

Children Of Men is a powerfully devised, if heavily flawed, movie. It uses a mish-mash of modern day fears, realistically projected 20 years into the future, and a welter of populist, barely disguised religious metaphors to help audiences to identify with its miracle baby and mythical promised land themes.

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In 2027, the youngest person is 18-years-old and is killed after being asked for an autograph. Theo (Clive Owen, who is in every scene) is a disillusioned bureaucrat, separated from his long-term partner Julian (Julianne Moore), who now works for one of a number of resistance groups. She arranges his capture so he can help deliver Kee and her unborn baby to safety.

The scenes of London mix familiarity with desolation, Homeland Security rounding up illegal immigrants into cages and shipping them through a Guantanamo-style holding centre to Bexhill, which has been turned into an enormous refugee camp. Bexhill itself looks more like war-torn Iraq, with various factions, some of them good and many of them not so good, vying for power.

Owen gives a tolerably good performance, even if Theo looks and sounds like most of his previous roles. Moore, on the other hand, breaks away from her excellent screen personas, where she expresses much without words and action, and throws herself into an excellent butt-kicking female militant character. The direction is taut throughout, maintaining tension and shocks as well as some crisply delivered laughs. The plot does meander, as the group has numerous adventures to reach its goal, but the gradual and admirable escalation of violence and bloodshed shows a respect for pacing that keeps us on the edge of our seats. Michael Caine puts in a touching supporting performance as an aging hippy, caring for his Alzheimer-stricken wife.

Given the deep issues at stake here, the odd scene suggesting that Theo does some soul searching would not have come amiss, but this is a movie crying out for a sequel: could we yet see a more mature approach to an undeniably interesting plot? Pigs do indeed fly, the pig in this episode being an inflatable one over art-enclave Battersea Power Station - Pink Floyd fans should be delighted.

When George W Bush assumed power, I recall an American liberal saying they would now start a stopwatch to World War Three. In the film, the British Government bomb hundreds of innocents to eliminate insurgents and we hardly notice, playing on our fears to give substance to any hope, no matter how improbable.

The final credits roll with an angst ridden Jarvis Cocker song, (c*nts are still) Running The World.

Reviewed on: 23 Sep 2006
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Children Of Men packshot
Conspiracy surrounds the birth of a child in an infertile post-apocalyptic world.
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Read more Children Of Men reviews:

Angus Wolfe Murray ****1/2
Anton Bitel ****

Director: Alfonso Cuarón

Writer: Alfonso Cuarón, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, based on the novel by P D James

Starring: Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine, Claire-Hope Ashitey, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Charlie Hunnam, Danny Huston, Peter Mullan, Pam Ferris, Oana Pellea, Jacek Koman

Year: 2006

Runtime: 109 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: UK, US, Japan

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