Friday, January 05, 2007

film - Children of Men


Directed by Alfonso CuarĂ³n, who also directed the Gwen Paltrow film Great Expectations, and the third Harry Potter film, The Prisoner of Azkaban, both of which I enjoyed. He also produced Pan's Labyrinth.

It's the year 2027 and women haven't been able to bear children for about 18 years, anywhere in the world. The world has suffered from widespread war, terrorism and civil unrest. In England, immigrants are rounded up and taken to prisoner camps as homeland security becomes a very big deal.

Former activist Theo Faron, played by Clive Owen, is contacted by an old flame (Julianne Moore) to help smuggle a pregnant woman (Kee, played by Claire-Hope Ashitey) across England to the coast, where a boat will take her across the ocean to a group known as the Human Project. We don't learn much about this group, but they will try to figure out how to make women fertile again. The pregnant woman is an immigrant from Fiji, which makes her a target to the police state cops and military, but almost no one knows about her pregnancy.

A terrorist group have Kee under protection at an isolated farm. Soon, the race to the coast is on, which soon turns into a chase. Michael Caine shows up a pot-smoking old hippie who provides shelter in his isolated homestead, which is protected from outsiders by a high-tech video surveillance system.

Refreshingly non-Hollywood slick, the film takes a while to get really interesting. Many of the scenes in this war-torn city look non unlike what we're used to seeing in the news from Palestine, complete with Moslems marching in funerals chanting "God is great" while toting machine guns. Some of the fire fights are well done with Theo dodging bullets as building fall down around him. Unlike what you saw in, say, the last James Bond film, there is far less of a choreographed feel to it all. It looks authentic.

I felt that the film was thought provoking but still could have been more interesting if it explained a few more details, like detailing more about the this mysterious Human Project. On the other hand, you could also relate to the pregnant woman more, with all the confusion and lack of information. You didn't get to know the "big picture" and neither did she or Theo.

The theatre was packed, but I don't think this will be a major hit since it is so bleak and deliberately vague. Definitely not for everyone. Based on the novel of the same name by PD James. For a book/film that slightly parallels this one, check out The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood.

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