We need to start making babies now and quick!
In the year 2027, eighteen years since the last baby was born, disillusioned Theo (Clive Owen) becomes an unlikely champion of the human race when he is asked by his former lover (Julianne Moore) to escort a young pregnant woman out of the country as quickly as possible.
Director Alfonso Cuarón takes what we see in every apocalyptic film that Hollywood chunes out every year, and totally turning it on its side with a film that’s more reliant on its story and style rather than just the annoying special effects and action sequences.
Something that Cuarón does masterfully is these amazing tracking shots that almost last between 6 to 10 minutes, which may not seem like a lot at first, but once you start to think about it, you realize that in almost every action sequence, the camera has stayed the same and it feels like the whole time were just with these characters as they constantly move around. This all felt so realistic for me and worked so well because I love tracking shots and to see them used in a way that they have never been used before, really adds so much more of an innovative feel to it.
This is also some real bleak and depressing stuff here that actually seems reasonable as opposed to other apocalyptic films of this nature seeming way too far-fetched. There is just a certain type of depressed feel to this world we live in and it actually doesn’t look any different from what we see around us now, just tired and a lot darker. I liked this because this was one of the more believable near-future dystopian films that focuses more on the overall atmosphere rather than just what looks different and how.
You’ll also start to notice that Cuarón starts to bring out some great questions about racism, fertility, war, terrorism, technology, paranoia, and even life itself. Cuarón also makes a lot of slight references if not illusions to9/11 and even the Holocaust in a way because you see how everyone is treated, especially these immigrants, and you can’t help but think something just isn’t right about the way everything looks and you know that the looks and inspiration come from somewhere.
The only problem I actually had with this film was that I didn’t understand as to why women were all of a sudden infertile. It’s occasionally brought up every once and awhile but nothing here really stuck out as the real sole reason as to why ladies weren’t allowed to have babies. This problem may seem a bit minor but in sometimes the best dystopian films, they still at least go out of there to explain just why the main epidemic/problem happened, but here I kind of felt a bit cheated.
Clive Owen is amazing in this role as the rugged everyday paper-pusher, Theo Faron, who is basically hurled into an unthinkable situation and forced to confront almost every demon in his life. There are moments where Owen could have easily just cheesed this performance up but really he handles this role so well and keeps everything going even when nothing seems like it’s actually going on. If you also notice, as Owen is running through the war-torn countryside he never picks up a gun of any kind which I think says a lot about his character.
Julianne Moore is actually pretty good as Faron’s feisty wife and leader of The Fishes; Sir Michael Caine is also great as the hippie confidant, Jasper, who looks a lot like Meryl Streep with a beard but we have never seen Caine in this type of role and it really works; and Chiwetel Ejiofor works well too as another member of The Fishes, Luke. Claire-Hope Ashitey plays the pregnant girl Kee, but wasn’t that good and actually didn’t seem to confidant when it came to actually reading her lines but the rest of the film kind of hid this problem away.
Consensus: Children of Men may be a bit too dark and depressing for some viewers, but the future that director Alfonso Cuarón portrays is a dark, sad, and lonely time that he beautifully creates with great camera-work, compelling themes that add an extra layer to the story, and a couple of good performances from the cast, especially Clive Owen who has almost never been better.