Children of Men (2006)

Children of Men (2006)
  • Time: 109 min
  • Genre: Adventure | Drama | Sci-Fi
  • Director: Alfonso Cuarón
  • Cast: Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine


With this dystopian world ravished by war, paranoia and the frustrations of Man the Orwellian vision of Nineteen Eighty-Four, the totalitarian future is now complete and amongst us. With female fertility becoming obsolete, Man cannot reproduce, and no child has been born on the face of the planet for eighteen years. Man, and his future, is dying. Soon he shall be extinct. Theo, the beaten, downtrodden and middle-aged ex-political activist will, unwittingly, become involved in a war of an underground revolt. Here he is active once more, in the perilous journey across England’s Home Counties, with a young girl, Kee, who, to Theo’s bewilderment is pregnant. The first pregnant woman for more than eighteen years. This secret must be protected, at all cost, and mother and child must flee to the mysterious and enigmatic Human Project, across the seas. Their flight is a constant fight for survival. Who can be trusted? Who can keep a secret?


  • I’ve read so much hype and positive comments on this film before watching, and regretfully, it did not live up to the expectations. The plot itself is pretty monotonic, there’s not much of a punchline or point to the story once it ends either. The film is certainly not bad, but just overrated. From a storytelling perspective, the movie presents a thin story, loosely tied scenes and not enough character development. It lacks momentum and is just not entertaining enough. I can’t see what all the fuss is about, great camera-work, but simplistic plot and weak acting!

  • When I first saw Alfonso Cuaron’s Children of Men 10 years ago, I loved it for its kinetic action and terrifying vision of a world devoid of newborns, made to feel closer to home by the fact that it was set in England. The grim near-future it depicted (set in 2027) felt authentic, with the lack of flying cars, fancy gadgets and futuristic fashion sense making for a more grounded experience. But it felt a world away. Ten years on, the film’s unglamorous and sobering scenes of terrorism and refugee overcrowding takes on a whole new level of prescience. Switch on the news now and chances are you’ll see footage similar to the grey landscape of Children of Men.

    Activist turned paper-pusher Theo (Clive Owen) cynically drinks away his days, with the United Kingdom now one of the few safe havens left in the world, albeit a police state struggling to cope with the influx of migrants. He is kidnapped by militant group the Fishes, led by Theo’s former lover Julian (Julianne Moore), and is forced to use his influence within the government to acquire transit papers for a young immigrant named Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey). With the Fishes’ motivations somewhat unclear and divided, Theo flees with Kee and nurse Miriam (Pam Ferris) through hostile terrain in the hope of delivering her to a group dedicated to curing infertility.

    Politics and social awareness aside, the action more than holds up to today’s standards, with three-Oscars-in-a-row cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki’s long takes and swirling camera still managing to take the breath away. In the films best sequence, Theo, Julian, Kee and Fishes muscle Luke (Chiwetel Ejiofor) are subject to a surprise attack by an armed gang. Action nowadays tends to be edit-heavy with a hand-held camera blurring the proceedings, but Lubezki’s fluid camerawork captures the immediacy of the situation while maintaining clarity. Mixing special effects and breathtaking choreography, it’s a moment that terrifies, excites and shocks all at once. It is a technique that innovates without feeling gimmicky.

    On a deeper note, Children of Men is not just a tale of caution, but also a study of what humanity desires of their children. Here, without children there is no hope. The youngest boy in the world has been stabbed to death, and the world has fallen into complete chaos with the sudden emergence of infertility. While some parents may view their children as an extension of their bloodline and a way to live on after death, some see them as the next generation with an opportunity to affect the world they will inherit. This sentiment is etched on Theo’s face when Kee reveals her secret and his task becomes clear. As Theo, Owen proves why he was such a solid leading man for a brief time before retreating from the spotlight, and is backed by an subtly intimidating Ejiofor and a comic-relief Michael Caine as political cartoonist turned pot-grower Jasper. The real stars, however, are Cuaron and Lubezki, who have crafted a nightmarish vision that is both terrifyingly plausible and uncomfortably gripping.

    Rating: 4/5

    Read more reviews at The Wrath of Blog

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