January 11, 2007

Review: Children Of Men

As we walked out of the movie last night, one of the people with me said something like, “That was a great movie. I never want to see it again.” Children of Men is not a light, happy movie in either production or story. I’ve heard the film techniques used described as “like Saving Private Ryan” and that comparison is apt. The colors are bleak and gritty while the characters are nearly always mussed and dirty in some way. The world is loud and distracting, filled with as much auditory horror as visual.

Children of Men takes place in the mid-21st Century, twenty years after all the women on Earth inexplicably ceased being able to have babies. With no children, and thus no future, the world has degenerated into chaos. Most of the major world powers have collapsed, leaving Britain as the presumably last stable country, and barely stable at that. Clive Owen plays Theodore, former political activist currently in a job he hates. Most people in the movie come off as just waiting for the inevitable end, and Theo is certainly one of those at the beginning of the film. Obviously in a film such as this the main character gets shaken out of their ennui by a variety of events and becomes active in an desperately important struggle. I’m not giving anything away (it’s in the trailer and is pretty obvious based on the concept) by telling you that Theo is introduced to a young woman who is pregnant with the first baby in eighteen years.

I’ve become convinced that the very best drama isn’t necessarily serious from start to finish. Joss Whedon uses humor to great effect in his works as a way to really hammer home the tragedy when something bad happens. In Children of Men the same is true. Most of the movie you’re slack jawed at the nonstop tragedy of the movie only to unexpectedly find yourself laughing at some weird, quirky moment. The most powerful moments of the film revolve around those light, happy moments.

I understand exactly what the person I was with meant. I’m certain that I’ll never be lounging around on a Saturday afternoon and think to myself, “I’m going to pop in Children of Men!” When I will watch it again, however, is any time I’m with someone and am forced to say, “What?! You’ve never seen Children of Men?! Well you’re going to see it right now!”

This movie is chaotic, visceral, and one of the best looking and sounding movies I've seen in a long time.This is a movie everyone should see. It’s dark, bleak, and depressing, but it’s also fantastic.

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