Movie Review 2007 #3: Children of Men

I went to the theater today to see the new Alfonso Cuaron picture, Children of Men

It’s not the feel good movie of the year.
The year is 2027, and no woman has been pregnant in over 18 years. Society is collapsing and Great Britain considers itself better off than much of the world…and yet it ruthlessly imprisons illegal immigrants and has a rather nasty home grown terrorist problem.
In this world, Theo, played by Clive Owen, gets mixed up with his ex-wife/lover Julian (Julianne Moore) and discovers a secret worth killing for–a young woman miraculously in her eighth month of pregnancy.
And so begins a plan to get her to safety, away from those who might manipulate her and her baby to be for political ends of their own.
A relentlessly dystopic and grim film, the movie is also shot fantastically well. The focus stays on our reluctant hero throughout, and I was amazed at the camera work and techniques used. A battle near the end of the film is more gritty and well done than any I have seen short of Saving Private Ryan or Black Hawk Down.
The movie has an excellent cast, from Owen and Moore to Chiwetel Ejiofor and a small role for Michael Caine, too. You have to be prepared that, however, in a movie like this, that characters are going to die, and die ignominiously.
There is some humor sprinkled throughout the film…such as seeing Michael Caine’s character get high and goofy. However, most of the movie is nasty, brutish and grim. The movie is short of 2 hours long, but it feels longer, especially given the oppressive atmosphere. We get some very quick flashes, from news clips to newspapers, of just how badly this world has gone in the proverbial handbasket.
I really liked the film, its dark, intense and interesting–but I won’t pretend that its an easy film to watch.