Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot.
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Children of Men (2006) Directed by Alfonso Cuaron, from the novel by P.D. James.
The year is 2027 and the big story on the news is that the youngest person in the world, Baby Diego has died at age 18. Humanity has been struck with world wide complete infertility, and as the world ages, hope atrophies.
Theo Faron (Clive Owen) is a former political activist. He, like some of the human race, seems to be content to live quietly until death claims him. Then Baby Diego dies, and the Starbucks he was in seconds before is bombed. Then he is kidnapped, thrown in a van, and taken to a secure location by gun wielding thugs. The person who had him brought there at gunpoint? His ex-wife. Man, talk about having a bad day.
But Julian Taylor (Julianne Moore) has a favor to ask. (Heres a clue; if this bird shows up on your doorstep wanting to borrow a cup of sugar, give it to her!) She needs travel papers to get someone out of the country. In the wake of the extinction of the future of the human race, only Britain has avoided total anarchy, only England has kept the power on and the trains running. This of course means that refugees would have poured into the country as the world was tearing itself apart. Now, they are being evicted as fast as the overworked military can manage it.
The girl Julian wants to get out is a refugee, and it is very important to her that she not go through the deportation camps. She wants Theo to get the papers from his cousin, who works in the government. Theo agrees.
The person that Julian wants to get out is Kee (Claire-Hope Ash!+ey), a young refugee girl. The reason they want her smuggled? She is pregnant.
The rest of the movie is a thrill ride chasing from safe house to detention camp. One of the things that struck me was how secretive everyone is, and you can not blame them. It would cause war as every faction and crack pot doomsday cult tried to seize the child to further their own agenda. It would not matter that this is the hope of the human race, no, she would be a symbol of refugee rights, or an abomination, defying the will of G*d by being born, when it is obvious G*d wants humanity dead.
So they are smuggling her to the Human Project, a group of scientists working outside any political or religious structure to save humanity.
This movie seems to be one of those movies without a middle ground. People either love it, or loathe it. Of 33 reviews, there were only 3 three star reviews. Many people site great gaping plotholes, but while the movie does not address these directly I feel confident a little logic will fill in the pieces. (I am also sure the book covers all these bases.) First, the refugee problem. England seems to be an armed camp, the military versus the fugees and their sympathizers. Where did all these refugees come from? Well, it states clearly that England is the last government that is soldiering on. I am sure that as things fell apart elsewhere, anyone with the wherewithal tried to get to a safe haven. England is the last safe haven. Therefore, it would be swamped with refugees.
The next question is Why are they so hard on the refugee? Answer, they are drowning in them. Sheer numbers are draining England to an anemic shell. Something has to be done.
The third complaint is, Why is everyone rioting? Because they have no hope. In a world with out children, what is the point in doing anything? In a hundred years, it literally will not matter to anyone what you did, or did not do today. Without children, there is no tomorrow, there is no immortality, there is no hope. That would tend to make a person a might testy. And do not forget the refugee problem. Too many mouths to feed means everyone goes hungry. And when people do not have the necessities of life, they quickly loose the luxury of civilization.
I hope no one would actually be naïve enough to ask why the baby cant just be announced openly. The baby is not a human being; the baby is a symbol, one that fits whatever cause the fanatic being questioned embraces. It is a damn hard life being a symbol, just ask Her Royal Highness, Elizabeth. People are already on the edge; that would push them over. Couldnt the government handle everything? No, the government is like any other person, scared and reactionary. The baby would be a tool to exert order.
Now, those matters out of the way, lets discuss what is right with this movie. It does a wonderful job of creating the atmosphere of a world hovering on the brink of extinction. There are several future cars and powered bikes and motorized rickshaws. One really telling detail I noticed was the omnipresence of pets. Everyone seemed to have a cat or a dog. Mostly dogs. I think in a world without children, pets would become incredibly important.
The musical score is brilliant. Rich in familiar songs, they often have a more somber bittersweet tone, like Ruby Tuesday performed by Franco Battiato. Others were written to be haunting, such as Where the Gentle Avon Flows, Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima and Court of the Crimson King. All and all, they build the mood admirably.
The writing is unbelievable, the plotting, and the pace are spot on. Proof of this can be found in the Three Oscar Nominations, for Best Writing, Adapted Screenplay, Best Achievement in Editing and Best Achievement in Cinematography. It also won the Saturn for Best Film of the Year. In total, seventeen wins, twenty seven nominations. That proves there is something here to love.
What camp do I fall into? I love this movie. I think it is important for us as a species to pause every so often and remember what is really important. This movie will make you do that.
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Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Fit for Friday Evening
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age