Children of Men --- With Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine, and Chiwetel Ejiofor
Jan 22, 2007
Review by three_ster
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:great casting, very strong story, impacting plot, impressive cinematography and imagery
The Bottom Line: An intense view of the future, this film is an impressive display of filming, editing, camera-usage, and acting.
Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.
Recommend this product?
Based on the novel The Children of Men written by author P.D. James, the film Children of Men gives a bleak outlook of the future, and an uncompromising view of where we are heading. In the year 2027, society as we know it has fallen from grace, as terrorism and war have taken its toll on many of the worlds nations. In fact, a piece of propaganda thrown in near the beginning of the film states that Britain is the only country to have stood strong through all of this chaos. The nation has even taken a stand against immigrants, forcing then into concentration camps, and exporting them off the continent as fast as they can. Violence abounds against the immigrants though, as the police and military take the harsh view that none of them show be treated as humans. Right from the start, the movie tries to hammer home the point that they aren't being treated fairly, no matter what they have to offer.
To make matters worse, there are no children left in the world, with the youngest human being an 18-year old boy who dies in the opening scenes. The infertility issue has no answer, as nobody really knows why it has occurred. Whether it is a result of disease, pollution, or some other unseen reason, that point of the story is left at the discretion of the viewer to decide a theory for themselves. When "Baby Diego" perishes (the 18-year old) it grips an already reeling nation, and effects just about everyone. Everyone except Theo Faron, who has developed a very bleak outlook on the world and just appears to be going through the motions at this point of his life. This is surely due to losing a child of his own many years ago, or his presumed thoughts that it really is too late for society. Either way you look at it, he is hopeless, and the only thing that saves him from despair is the call for help his ex-wife Julian Taylor extends. She has come into contact with a pregnant woman that needs safe passage to the coast, and feels that Theo is her best option.
In a world that is falling apart around them, this pregnant woman could be the life-raft that the human race has needed. To complicate matters, the woman is an immigrant, and likely to not be received well if the pregnancy is made public, and thusly the story gets under way in secrecy as Theo begrudgingly finds a new cause that is worth fighting for. Playing Theo is Clive Owen, who has really come into his own as a leading man, and does a superb job at not only being a great dramatic presence, but not overpowering the themes that the film is intended to impress. His ex-wife is Julianne Moore, and both do a great job at showing that there is a lot of love left in the relationship, but because of the tragic events of the past, it has been overshadowed by distance. We then have Michael Caine as family friend Jasper Palmer, who serves as both a resource and confidant to Theo in his time of need. Finally there is Chiwetel Ejiofor who also has a stake in the child, and works with Julian for a group of freedom-fighters.
If you don't recognize Ejiofor, he was Denzel's partner in Inside Man and the "bad guy" from Serenity. He has a remarkable screen presence, that when combined with the acting talents of Owen, Moore, and Caine really elevate this film and its characters. It was important to cast the correct actors in these key roles, and the film benefits from some great choices, because they had to be good enough to impact the audience, but also subtle enough to not over-power the themes or plotlines. This glimpse of the future is unlike others we have seen before, but really hits home as something that could possibly happen if we aren't careful. That was obviously the intent of the story, and I am sure some viewers will think of it as a political statement, but make sure not to look past the great film-work we have here, and how original the premise actually turns out to be.
Children of Men is an extremely intense film, that does not hold back on its presentation of violence or its interpretation on just how badly immigrants are treated. But don't assume that you are forced to come away with a specific opinion of the subject matter, because I don't feel that one viewpoint was hammered home. The pacing was also perfect, because it allowed the characters and story to develop on its own accord, and as a friend of mine noted, no scene in the movie is waster. Every development of the story, and all of the shots have a purpose and an under-current within the story that helps everything come together. Emotional at parts, and dramatic in every sense of the word, the film works on so many levels that its impression will have you thinking about events depicted long after the credits have rolled. This one is a must-see in my opinion, and wholly recommended for that reason.
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