Children Of Men

 
Directed by: Alfonso Cuaron
Written by:Alfonso Cuaron, Timothy Sexton
Starring: Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Charlie Hunnam, Danny Huston, Claire-Hope Ashitey
Released: October 19, 2006
Grade: A-

Set in the year 2027, Children Of Men takes a peek into an unimaginable future.  Females have become infertile and the last baby was born in the year 2009.  As the reality of the situation has sunk in, the world has disintegrated into complete chaos.  It’s “every person for themselves” as the government’s power over the people slips away.  A piece of graffiti on a building wall says it all - would the “last one to die please turn out the light.”

Theodore Faron (Owen) is a disenchanted diplomat working in London.  He goes to work, does what he needs to do, and returns home each day.  It gives him some sense of purpose but in the back of his mind, he knows the planet is doomed.  It’s hard not to think about.

Out the blue, Theo is approached by Julian (Moore), his ex-wife who he hasn’t seen in many years.  Julian has become a political activist and has approached Theo for a desperate favour.  She has a friend who needs to leave the country illegally and so wants Theo to use his government connections to obtain the necessary paperwork.

Theo reluctantly goes through with Julian’s request but it’s only the beginning.  He soon learns that Julian’s friend who needs the help, Kee (Ashitey), is eight months pregnant.  Word of Kee’s pregnancy hasn’t been made public however.  Radical groups who would like to get their hands on Kee for their own political benefit.  Julian and her team are trying to get Kee to a reputable commune known as The Human Project where both her needs and those of humanity will be best served.

Children Of Men starts out as a very depressing film.  It paints a grim look at society and the way we act when faced with a life-threatening situation.  It reminded me of the great Danny Boyle movie 28 Days Later (released in 2002) which looked at a world wiped out by an incurable virus.  Both films are dark but they do create a positive vibe in that the human race is powerful enough to overcome any obstacle.

It stirs emotions but it also comes with a sense of unpredicibility.  Just when you think you have the characters figured out, they surprise.  Knowledge is power (as Francis Bacon famously said) but power can corrupt.  The fate of most characters in the film revolves around that theory.  Clive Owen’s subdued performance is great as is that of Michael Caine who provides a few laughs as Theo’s hippy father.

Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron (Y Tu Mama Tambien, A Little Princess) hasn’t put a foot wrong in recent years and Children Of Men is another impressive credit to place on his resume.  Cuaron admits to being haunted by the script when he first read it.  I was particularly struck by his quote that “the tyranny of the 21st century is called democracy” and that this was one concept he wanted to explore in this film.  Once you’ve seen it, you’ll be conscious of the topical questions that it raises.