Friday, April 25, 2008

Children of Men (2006)

"Last one to die please turn out the light."
- sign on billboard

"As the sound of the playgrounds faded, the despair set in. Very odd, what happens in a world without children's voices."
- Miriam (Pam Ferris)

At a glance: In the near future, in a sterile, hostile, violent and suspicious world that is devoid of children, Clive Owen plays a former activist who is asked to escort a special young woman on a dangerous voyage. This dark and, for the most part, depressing world exaggerates the worst elements of our present to create an ominous future.

London, 2027, and today’s news is that the youngest person in the world – 27 years old, has just been stabbed after refusing to give an autograph. All over, people cry at this news. Why are there no children? And why is London rocked by suddden explosions, while its trains are coated in wire and pelted by boys throwing rocks? The world has collapsed, and only Britain soldiers on, says the video that plays on the train. Even in Britain, everyone is infertile, refugees are hunted down and incarcerated, and life seems meaningless to Theo (Clive Owen). He’s kidnapped by Julianne, an old flame (Julianne Moore) who leads the resistance in a fight against government oppression of refugees. She needs transit papers for a refugee girl, and he needs money – and he still has some emotional ties to Julianne. Without giving much away, let me just say that it isn’t hard to guess the big secret of where this is going, but it still works dramatically – especially when we learn how the secret ties in to Theo’s past. An interesting blend of drama, sci-fi, war, and end-of-the-world genres; it may prove too relentlessly bleak for some. Michael Caine adds flavor in another quirky, poignant role. For those with attention to detail, there are numerous references to other events of torture and war (for example, the famous hooded prisoner from the Abu Ghraib prison can be seen in one of the cages just after Miriam is taken). You might also notice the recreation of a Pink Floyd album cover. Read the trivia page at ( to get an idea of the detail and care that went into the making of this film.Rating: 2.75 of 4

"There is much about the film that is impressive, but ultimately we do not care enough about the characters, so our journey is a frustrating one."
- Urban Cinefile Critics (Urban Cinefile)

"You feel as if you’re accompanying a war photographer who’s lost a bet. Slogging unflinchingly through humanity’s worst hours, the movie laces the narrative’s forays into science-fiction grandstanding with a gut-wrenching dynamic."
- Joshua Rothkopf (Time Out New York)

"As uncertain and spontaneous as its events are in the moment, Children of Men feels too tightly wound for its own good."
- Rob Humanick (Stranger Song)

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