Oct 29, 2012

Children of Men [2006]


Children of Men is a 2006 dystopian film directed by Alfonso Cuaron and adapted for screen from a novel by P.D.James. It features Clive Owen in the part of a lost, sad man who is suddenly thrown in a world of conspiratorial events and death, but also hope and survival. It is definitely one of the best films of its genre and deserves all the praise and attention it has gotten.

The premises is simple, yet tragic and heartbreaking: in the year 2027, the world is facing chaos, death and violence, but especially infertility, something that has left the Earth population in a grey, unhappy and with no ounce of help state of mind. Theo is contacted by his ex wife and asked to help transport a refugee, Kee, who proves to be much more precious than expected. The end is both positive and negative, and leaves a bittersweet taste in your mouth. The script has a very interesting concept, with a great mix of drama, love, action and existential themes. That's actually one of the films' strongest points: its ability to create a dystopian world without overreacting or relying too much on sci-fi or science. Children of Men talks more about people, the evolution of mankind and relationships, and less about new technological developments or unseen gadgets, and that gives it more soul and ultimately, impacts you on a much deeper level.

Alfonso Cuaron is perfect for this type of movies. He has a very dynamic shooting style and that works here, especially in the running scenes. There are many details that I loved and appreciated: the blood on the camera, the close-ups, the shaky camera in some points. The dark cinematography complemented the direction very well, as did the sets.

The casting was probably one of my favorite things in Children of Men. Clive Owen in one of his career's best parts- he gave an amazing performance as the sad, miserable man who finally finds a reason to live and fight, 20 years after the death of his son and separation from his wife. He has always been a favorite of mine and I always wonder why doesn't he get more roles, or better ones, to say so, considering this performance and the one in Closer. Another standout was definitely Michael Caine as the wacky, adorable old Jasper, and of course, Julianne Moore also impresses in her short time on screen. One mention I have to give is to Oana Pellea, the woman playing Marichka, the gypsy  who is actually Romanian- when you were hearing her talking rubbish in a weird language, that was actually Romanian. It was quite cool for me to recognize that- she is a loved and appreciated actress here. 

In the end, Children of Men is definitely a must see for all film lovers and dystopian aficionados. Very well made, visually appealing, wonderfully acted and with existential themes like hope, survival, love and humankind, it is highly recommended. 

21 comments:

  1. Good review Diana. This is a very strong flick that's heavy on it's mood and atmosphere, but is also a movie that shows us what our future could most likely end up being if we aren't able. It's a dark flick, but in a way, a very beautiful one as well and took me by surprise from the first shot on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, you're right Dan, it is a beautiful flick, despite its darkness.

      Delete
  2. Wonderful review. I told you it was amazing! Gah I need to rewatch this sometime.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great review! Really liked this movie - very scary, sad and not totally unreallistic premise. Clive Owen and Michael Caine were terrific here and the movie was amazingly shot - especially the scene in the car when some people are shooting at them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sati! Oh, that's one of my favorite scenes, too!

      Delete
  4. Great review. I love this film, so I'm glad you enjoyed it too. And yes, Clive Owen NEEDS better roles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Honestly, the man has the looks and the talent, I just don't get it :P

      Delete
  5. Definitely a must-see! Love this film. Not really a big fan of Clive Owen, but I agree this is definitely one of (if not) his best! And the cinematography is AMAZING! Those long takes in the car ambush and at the end are just brilliant!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I really loved the ending,too- bittersweet, but still amazing!

      Delete
  6. Great review of an excellent film! This is a career-making turn from Owen, I wish he'd do more of this kinds of roles. I love the depiction of dystopian world that looks believably bleak and rundown, but the performances, including Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Caine are all fantastic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chiwetel Ejiofor did a great job, too, he is always so underrated!

      Delete
  7. Glad you liked this one, definitely one of my favorite films from the '00s. The cast is indeed flawless, and the cinematography, and script and...everything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally agree, a very well made film!

      Delete
  8. It's been far too long since I've dropped by your blog Diana! Love the review, especially what you said about the film relying more on the relationships between people rather than 'unseen gadgets' to create the dystopian feeling. This has been in my watchlist for far too long, but I do remember the scene in the car - one big long take. Amazing stuff.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ruth! the car scene is indeed fantastic, I love the ambush part!

      Delete
  9. Great review, you've reminded me how much I love this one. The two long scenes (escaping in the car, and going through the building) are astonishing pieces of filmmaking. Also interesting to learn about that Romanian connection, I'm pretty good at recognizing the language now after seeing so many films, but I never noticed that when I first watched this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She is talking in Romanian, but the way gypsies do, with a strange accent, maybe that's why you couldn't understand. Thanks!

      Delete
  10. Good review. This is one of the best films of the 2000s and one of the best science fiction (NOT "sci-fi") films made in the last generation.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Chip. Do you have something against the word sci fi, or is it incorrect to call it that?

      Delete
    2. "Do you have something against the word sci fi"

      Actually, sometimes I do. It's often used as shorthand by pompous professional critics who want to belittle the entire genre. It *is* an accurate term to use in some cases, though. I discussed the difference between "sci-fi" and "SF" here: http://www.tipsfromchip.blogspot.com/2011/03/movies-before-star-wars.html

      Delete