Children of Men (2006)

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.

9/10=Full Pricee!!


  1. This is in my list of the best film of the 2000s easily for its dystopian feel as well as its technical work. Notably Chivo’s cinematography which was brilliant as usual from what I would expect from him since he is my favorite DP. I loved the tension of it as well as the ensemble that was created. It never bores me and I hope Cuaron will deliver with Gravity next year.

    • I can’t wait to see what he does with that film next year, and this is easily one of the best films of the decade if not the best of 2006. Thanks Steven!

  2. Dan, I don’t think it was the women weren’t “allowed” to have babies. You may have just picked the wrong word there, I think you know that it was a sudden biological issue.

    I think that’s part of the whole thing though. No one knows WHY the infertility has occured.

    Regardless. Once again, I love reading your writeups on the classics. Especially when you nail them. 9/10 is just about the perfect score for this flick. It was awesome. And you’re right. The tracking shots here are definitely noteable!

    • I don’t know what it was but for some reason I just wanted to know exactly why this was all happening but in the end, it didn’t matter by how amazing this whole story actually was and just how beautifully filmed it was. Thanks Dan!

  3. I love that movie! The PD James book it is based on makes more sense of the plot and ir really worth reading. I think this is one of Michael Caine’s best performances. I enjoyed reading your review.

  4. The infertility could have been a number of reasons – and several are thrown about during Caine’s conversations with Owen – but I’m glad Cuaron didn’t feel the need to blame it on one specific issue.

    BTW has anyone read the book? It’s completely off the walls.

  5. I enjoyed the book far more, but that was a given as PD James is one of my all-time favorite writers. The movie changed several things (loosely adapted is right!) seemed to lack a mysterious something I could not define, but that was probably my reaction to having read the novel first.

  6. This is one of my favorite films of all time. Such a beautifully made film about an unbeautiful subject. There are few films I would consider near perfect and this is one of them. Great review.

    • This is just about near-perfect and what this film does so well is just show how beautiful a story can get no matter how dark the subject matter. Thanks Kev!

  7. Great movie, a bit underrated IMO among the acclaimed films of the aughts. I kind of wonder what happened with Clive Owen, he never really broke out big after that.

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