Children of Men Reviews
On 2nd viewing I could find a little more coherence in the story line though the effect of a sudden demographic discontinuity could still not lead to social breakdown but would have the opposite ameliorative impact on an over-populated world that was creating such overwhelming pressure of refugees that it could bring on collapse & a fascist genocidal anti-immigrant backlash that shows no mercy.
And then a couple of days back, an interesting scenario presented itself. What if, sometime in the future, we would have to live in a world without children? What if, faced with infertility, we were slowly moving towards our own extinction? At a time like that, when hope recedes and there is no humanity left, is it humanly possible not to take solace under a supreme being? Interesting questions, huh, but scary ones too!
We all know Alphonso Cuaron as the director of the critically acclaimed space epic Gravity. But the Mexican director has had a distinguished career before that one, with some wonderful movies. Children Of Men, a 2006 futuristic sci-fi thriller is one of them. Starring an ensemble cast including Clive Owen, Julianne More, Michael Caine and Chiwetel Ejiofor. The film is set in 2027, where epidemics and social anarchy has left much of the world without political order. Britain is the only surviving nation-state, whose authoritarian government has maintained a tight leash, with immigrants and refugees being treated as animals.
Theo Faron is a disillusioned political activist turned government bureaucrat, whose young son Dylan was killed in an epidemic 20 years ago. His ex-lover is the leader of a rebel group, demanding equal rights and dignity for the refugees. Theo gets drawn into their cause, when she asks him for a favor from his influential cousin, to get transit papers to smuggle a girl out of Britain. And of course, there's another little problem - an unexplained genetic disorder has left the world's women infertile, with the world without a newborn baby for the past 18 years!
The premise is exciting, a unique idea, and can be great action flick. But you see, Alphonso Cuaron isn't your usual filmmaker, he aim is to accomplish something more. He shows us where we are "moving on" as a civilization! His vision is scary; Is this how our world is going to turn into? A world where science has ruled its roost and civilization is coming to a full circle, where faith and religion are ones keeping people alive, in the midst of the the chaos around them? Unlike other sci-fi, where the look of a futuristic world is overdone, Children Of Men gives us a London that is believable. A London where you see roadside make-shift shops and electric rickshaws. I couldn't help having the notion that the place like this really exists, a disintegrating picture of a once prosperous city. That, is not only it, Cuaron has left no unturned in giving this movie a touch of realism. The hero is like one of us, he has his flaws, and doesn't attempt at heroics. He doesn't run around like some superhuman like Tom Cruise (in Minority Report). He is a normal person, a cynic disgruntled with the world, whose last remaining tinge of humanity raises him to do extraordinary things, albeit like an ordinary man.When someone shoots, he takes cover and waits it out. When his loved ones die, his is distraught, but there are no emotional outbursts. This is an action flick alright, but unlike anything anything I have ever seen before.
With Cuaron, you don't expect a poorly made film. With single-shot, realistic action sequences and unhinged realism and authenticity in its execution, he set a new benchmark for action films (unfortunately, not many took the cue). The cinematography is excellent; in one of the action sequences, the camera just follows the characters, and the audience is put right in the mix. Blood splatters on the lens, there is dust, and it all feels so real. Cuaron has deftly ignored the past, the reason behind the turmoil and the infertility, his focus being on the present. A world without children is impossible to perceive. Their little cries, the soft laughter and the aura of life around a child; a world devoid of these is the worst nightmare one could have. And when we see that pain and suffering on screen, we can understand. We empathize with their plight and internalize that pain. It gets personal, and taps into our deepest of emotions
With a great idea, a great script and some solid performances, you can't go wrong, especially with Alphonso Cuaron at the helm. Having loved both Gravity and Y Tu Mama Tambien ( his debut, a Mexican road-drama), I never expected a bad film. But the emotional depth and the hard, jolting realism in Children Of Men blew me away. It is definitely a great achievement, a benchmark in in action films, with a story that is both emotional and scary.
Don't miss this one. Watch it ASAP!
Besides a great story, but it can be depressing .