CHILDREN OF MEN

REVIEW BY DAVE SMITH

 

Alfonso Cuaron didn't win an Oscar as best director for this film. He deserved at least a nomination, but he didn't get that. As much of a "downer" as this film is, it is an exhilarating "downer." Cuaron is greatly helped by his cinematographers and his set dressers. London is transformed into a horribly bleak place in the year 2027. The film is based on a novel by 86 year old P.D. James. It may be described by some as science fiction but it is more than that. It has many satirical points. It is greatly strengthened by a superb cast led by Clive Owen.

The story is about a time in the future when for some reason, women throughout the world have become infertile. No babies have been born for 18 years. This has caused widespread anarchy. The only country with some semblance of order is Great Britain. However it is kept stable only by using the armed forces to keep the peace. Owen, who plays a bored civil servant is suddenly forced into a car and delivered to his former lover played by Julianne Moore. Moore is a rebel leader and it seems she needs Owen's help because she has just discovered an 18 year old woman who is pregnant. She wants Owen to get her the necessary papers to spirit the young woman away to a safe haven. The result is that Owen and the pregnant girl, played with great elan by Clare-Hope Ashitey, embark on a journey pursued by both the rebels and government soldiers. He manages to get her to the remote cabin of an old friend, a retired cartoonist, played by Michael Caine. Caine plays a long-haired druggy who looks and acts like a 60s hippy. He obviously has great fun with the role.

Inevitably their hideout is discovered and the chase is on again. Children of Men is an unusually dark film and it will not have appeal to the mass movie-going audience. However mass appeal is not a a requisite for making a good movie. This is a good one.

 

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