Where This Meets That
I’ve already touched on the film Children of Men when I ranked my favorite Sci-Fi movies, but after recently watching it again, I decided it deserves a full review. It is not only among my favorite science-fiction films; it is also among my personal top ten films.
The biblical Children of Men is a love story about the hope provided by children; without children (or the promise of rebirth) we are without hope. It is the story of humanity winding down after nearly two decades of inexplicable sterility. The world has fallen into chaos, and Clive Owen is fantastic as Theo, the flawed and unlikely hero who must find sanctuary for a miraculously expectant refugee woman named Kee.
From a technical film-making standpoint, it is one of the most impressive films I have ever seen. The level of detail Cuaron uses in creating the film immerses the viewer completely into the film’s dystopian universe. I have viewed the film numerous times and still notice new details with each viewing.
Cuaron’s skilled use of long, single take scenes further the viewer’s immersion. The climactic six-plus-minute single take uprising scene is hands down one of the single most amazing sequences ever filmed. It still leaves my heart in limbo with its fragile, fleeting beauty.
The film also features special effects wizardry that would have probably garnered it an Oscar nod if the effects hadn’t been so slick that they escaped notice. FXGuide.com gives a wonderful breakdown of the secrets that went into the film, though be warned that the article does contain spoilers.
Finally, the religious and political themes running through the film make the film seem entirely (and unnervingly) plausible from today’s starting point. There are many Judeo-Christian themes that run through the film, and I’ve read studies comparing it to everything from the more obvious Nativity story to that of Noah’s flood (animals curiously appear in the background of nearly every scene).
There are certainly reasons for viewers to dislike the film. One of the good guys is a drug-dealer , there are unflattering references to western politics (from the war on drugs to the war on terror), and viewers should prepare for an open-ended conclusion.
Still, Children of Men stands alone as a feat of cinematic poetry, there to be experienced as much as understood. Cuaron begins the film with an explosive and haunting first scene and ratchets the tension in the film masterfully from there to the point where the fate of all humanity hangs by the finest of threads of hope. But Cuaron’s ultimate message in Children of Men is that hope is so fundamental and necessary that it is worth everything to pursue.
Children of Men score: 5 Falcone Rings!!!