Movie Review: Children of Men

If I’ve seen a bleaker, more depressing film than Children of Men (2006) I can’t remember it. The basic concept of this film is that 20 years in the future, women are infertile and the world has gone to hell-in-a-handbasket (whether the infertility and the worldwide anarchy are cause and effect remains unclear). Only Britain remains stable, and then only barely so under the control of a police state. People from the rest of the world attempt to emigrate to Britain but are rounded up, tortured and killed by the ever-present military police.

At the center of this story is Theo (Clive Owen) a government bureaucrat who seems to lead a somewhat normal life in London surviving a terrorist attack and wondering about the sensationalized mourning of the death of the world’s youngest person, an 18-year old Brazilian. He escapes to smoke cannabis at the hidden country home of his friend Jasper who is kind of a cyber-hippie (and wonderfully portrayed by Michael Caine so much that I didn’t even recognize him). The scenes with Jasper are about the only cheerful thing in this movie.

Soon Theo is drawn into a plot by his ex-wife (Julianne Moore) to help a refugee girl from Africa named Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey). Miraculously, Kee is pregnant and as the first woman to be pregnant in two decades she becomes something of a political football. Over the course of the film, Theo becomes protector for Kee and her baby as they try to find there way to safety amongst unspeakable violence. Much of the film from this point on consists of long, documentary-style takes of running gun battles where it is hard to tell who is fighting with whom or even what they hope to accomplish (and I assume this is deliberate by the filmmakers). At one point, blood even splatters on the camera lens.

This was a hard movie to watch, especially being a new parent of a tiny baby, but it is a thoughtful and well-made film. It even has some glimmers of hope that there may be a future for humanity even as the world goes to hell.

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