Cinema at its finest: Children of Men

There’s a scene near the climax of “Children of Men,” one that stands out vividly in my mind. Clive Owen’s character, a dour and sullen-faced man named Theo, stumbles through the ruined streets of a bombed-out ghetto, pursuing a group of violent revolutionists and their captive, the first and only pregnant woman in over 18 years. A fierce battle rages between the forces of the British military and the long-oppressed immigrants that populate the city.

Bullets rain all around the helpless Theo as shells from British tanks demolish entire buildings with deafening booms. We find ourselves right over Theo’s shoulder, much like embedded reporters in a heated war zone. Blood and dirt spatter the camera lens as men and women are brutally gunned down by the dozens. Another shell whistles by, obliterating a solid concrete wall. The world is in complete chaos, crumbling right before our eyes.

This is the bleak future of Alfonso Cuarón’s “Children of Men,” an exceedingly unique and involving cinematic experience, the likes of which are rare in modern film.

It is the year 2027 and mankind is on the brink of complete extinction. The race has been infertile for nearly two decades. The world is being torn apart by war and famine. In Britain, a paranoid government rounds up immigrants and ships them off to internment camps. Hope is an ideal held by few and forgotten by many. But when former activist Theo Faron is contacted by a revolutionist group calling themselves the Fishers and introduced to a young, miraculously pregnant girl named Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey), he finds himself embroiled in a struggle to save the future of mankind.

On the surface, “Children of Men” might appear as your standard bleak, post-apocalyptic future film. You have your dystopian society over here, a few technological advances over there and it’s all polished off with washed-out, muted gray tones. However, this film succeeds tremendously as its own entity, a fantastic tale of human survival and hope.

Performances are stellar all around, with Owen easily giving the best of his career. There’s also great supporting contributions from Julianne Moore, Chiwetel Ejiofor and the always-delightful Michael Caine. The soundtrack, though it may be an easily overlooked aspect of film, is also extraordinary.

The film is fantastically shot, with breathtaking cinematography throughout. More than a few scenes – much like the aforementioned climax of the film – reminded me of something David Lean or a young Steven Spielberg might produce. It’s vintage filmmaking at its best, the type of cinema that undeservedly died out years ago.

It’s an epic film, and yet we focus for the entirety of the film on this small band of bloody and exhausted survivors, pursued by police, the military and terrorist organizations. By limiting the scope, the film feels so relevantly human. It’s not a tear-jerker (unless, you know, you’re a wuss), but I was definitely feeling for these characters.

I’ve waited a long time for this film’s release, and I was not disappointed in the least. It was tremendous from start to finish, and it’s a cinematic experience I will not soon forget. It’s one of the few recent films I would say is in dire need of multiple viewings. So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go see it again.


  1. I'm not gonna lie, I didn't read this review... YET. (I will read it, but I thought I should ask you first if there are any spoilers cuz I haven't seen the movie yet.)

    There are, however, two main points to this comment.
    1) I want to tell you that I bookmarked this page. I don't use bookmarks much, but hopefully I will now start. I have a reason to bookmark now.
    2) I read your profile. It said that your Chinese Zodiac is the year of the rabbit. I don't agree with that. You're younger than me. Weren't you born in 88? Cuz that would make you the year of the dragon. I am a rabbit.

    Enjoy "The Maltese Falcon". Let me know how it is.

  2. I loved this movie. It was so moving on so many levels. Like all distopian visions of the future, it's a warning about our course of actions now and their results, but it's really subtle and not over-the-top (making it effective and not overly pompous). Mostly I found it to be really moving and beautiful to watch.

    True story: I was working at the movie theater and this guy gets out of Children of Men (he didn't walk out; the movie ended) and buys a ticket for Night at the Museum and proceeds to tell me that he just had to go to another movie because the one he just went to "Left a bad taste" in his mouth. I thought he may have meant that it was sad and so he needed something more light-hearted. But he elaborated that he simply hated Children of Men and apparently thought Night at the Museum was the better choice.
    So not only did he have really bad taste, he couldn't express his feelings for CoM like a normal English-speaking human being.
    Suffice it to say, I was annoyed.


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