Sunday, January 21, 2007

Children of Men

Last weekend, I saw my first movie of the year...and it very well might be the best one I'll see this year, too. Children of Men is an incredible piece of work. Set 20 years in the future, it posits what the world will be like if, through some reason beyond explanation, women around the world stopped being able to bring their babies to term, and soon could not concieve altogether. Consequently, humanity seems unable to pull back from its mistakes. Wars, once started, continue indefinitely. Refugees are sent to prison camps and ghettoes. In the abscense of a generation to follow, humanity goes for broke. It's the endgame, and seen from above it looks like the swirl of a flushing toilet.

To underscore the point (and to provide valuable exposition), the film opens with news reports of the murder of Baby Diego, who gained unwanted celebrity by virtue of being the world's youngest person. He was 18. The situation allows the film to impart a lot of information quickly, as newcasters offer retrospectives of Baby Diego and his significance. A lesser film would have given us this information in a voiceover or a screen crawl; Children of Men does it with grace.

The film is based on a novel by P.D. James, but I don't want to say too much about the plot. The acting, from all comers, is superb. Clive Owen plays a former idealist turned office drone who is suddenly and irrevocably thrust into water way over his head. Julianne Moore is excellent as a quiet and firm revolutionary leader. Michael Caine is charming as Owen's aging political cartoonist/neo-hipppie friend. And newcomer Claire-Hope Ashitey is excellent as Kee, whose prescence drives the film.

The film is haunting and thought-provoking, and the world it depicts is one not easily forgotten. I can't recommend it highly enough.


1 comment:

bastard central said...

i especially love the underlying current of disconnect as it takes clive owen a whole 30-40 minutes into the movie to even react to the bombing he survives in the first 5 minutes of the ovie.o