izhilzha (izhilzha) wrote,

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Children of Men review

I've been looking forward to this film in a vague sort of way, ever since I saw a trailer for it over the summer (attached to Miami Vice, of all things, iirc). I didn't keep up with all the news or anything (I didn't even recall that it was directed and co-written by Alfonso Cuaron until I saw his name in the credits), but I knew I would try to see it in the theatre, because the style looked good and the premise is fascinating:

What would happen in the world, if the human race suddenly became infertile? Completely?

What would it look like, be like, 20 years later?

And what if, in that time...
...a woman in the midst of a world falling to pieces became pregnant? What if you were the man who, by chance and by faith, became the only one who could help her and her baby survive?

Children of Men works on two levels: as speculative fiction, and as a gripping thriller.

I have not read the novel by P.D. James, and at the moment I think I'm glad, because I enjoyed this movie throughly. It moved me, and made me think; it drew me in, and kept me on my toes. I'm sure that there is much more to this dystopian future world than we get to see in the film. The plot, the pace, moves so rapidly that there is only time to learn what is vitally important to Theo, and to Kee. The rest of the details (billboards, deportation buses, the total lack of anyone under the age of 18, burned bodies by the roadside) slide past without description, mere setting for the story we follow.

And while I enjoyed this film on both of those levels, there is also a touch of something else. Jasper, Theo's old and wise hippie friend, tells Kee about the world's balance between chance and faith; what happens in the world without our help or action, and what we do because of what we believe it. Over and over again, in subtle ways, I saw that--maybe only because Jasper brought it to my attention in a few short lines. The climax is almost unbelievable...except that, in this particular future, it's also the only believable response.

Even seeing this new child, even in the middle of a war zone where all are going to die...it's hope, and peace, and joy. Terror dies, for an exquisite sequence (I love the music here, though I'm not sure it wouldn't have played just as well without any music at all).

Faith. Even here, it accomplishes much.

The characters were well drawn, all of them, though I would single out Clive Owen as Theo, who carries the brunt of the film's emotion. These are people whom I will remember. Sacrifices, and moments of tenderness and humor, and of rage--I will remember.

Sometimes I think that's all I could ask from a film. This had that, and more.

Go. See it. whitemartyr, you told me how you were studying thrillers? Yeah. Go see this one--talk about upping the stakes every ten minutes (or less).
Tags: film, review

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