Saturday, 19 March 2011

Film Review: CHILDREN OF MEN (2006)

Co-Writer (Screenplay)/Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Running time: 109 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Drama/Thriller/Sci-Fi
UK Release date: 22nd September 2006

Watched on Sky+ Saturday 19th March 2011.


I was flicking channels before bed time the other night when I came across this film, it had only just started but I thought I’d watch five minutes… Fifteen minutes later I pressed ‘Record’ and retired to bed. I’m really glad I recorded it now because, I have to say for the record that I have seen it before but first time around I didn’t enjoy it all that much. A second viewing has convinced me that it is a very fine piece of work, gritty, and tough to watch at times, but certainly worth it. More of my thoughts later but here’s a brief summary first (summary haters and those that don’t wish to know anything about the plot please escort that refugee to the coast while I write the next paragraph).

It is the year 2027 and the world has gone to pot. No babies have been born since 2009 and this has caused chaos across the globe as society collapsed leaving numerous homeless and destitute people. Many make their way to the UK where they are herded into cages and sent to camps far away from the population. When an English man, Theo Faron is approached by his former lover, and leader of a pro-refugee rebellion, Julian, he reluctantly agrees to help her. They need him to escort a girl, Kee, to the coast where they hope to get her on a boat to meet a group of scientists known as ‘The Human Project’. Having secured the paperwork from his brother, Theo meets up with Julian, Kee and Miriam (Kee’s escort). They set off but are ambushed; they get away and make it to a safe house that proves not to be quite as safe as first thought. Here Theo discovers what is so special about Kee and why it is so important for everyone that she makes it to her destination. I’ll leave it there so as not to infuriate the spoiler police… they can get quite nasty you know.

Filmed in a washed-out style, this film is very stark-looking with a realistic feel to it. This really helps the story, which is a no-holds-barred assault on the sensitivities of modern life. It really hits home in a very pragmatic way how society could end up if mankind lets it (ok, no more political stuff). Great performances all round, particularly from Clive Owen as Theo Faron, he seldom convinces me as a leading man, but as the reluctant hero here, he really nails it. Julianne Moore did a good job as Julian (daft name for a girl if you ask me though), as did Pam Ferris as Miriam. I really liked Clare-Hope Ashitey as Kee, she played a difficult part very well, and it was great to see Michael Caine as you’ve never seen him before, as Theo’s friend Jasper.

Amongst all the grit, dirt and general reality of the film comes one scene that will stay with me for a long time. For those that have seen it, it’s where Theo and Kee are leaving the tower block and all the fighting stops until they are clear (I don’t think I’ve given anything vital away here). If you haven’t seen it, believe me, it’s a truly beautiful piece of cinema. There is also a great soundtrack with many songs you’ll recognise and a great piece of humour for Pink Floyd fans… just look out of the window at Battersea Power station & you’ll see what I mean. Over all, I really enjoyed this film, although I did find it a little too long. There are some great performances and it is a very compelling story… Recommended.

My score: 8.0/10

1 comment:

Ian Montgomery said...

I know grown men (including myself) who cried at the moment where the child's presence temporarily stops the fighting. Sometimes I pull the disc off the shelf for the sole purpose of watching that scene.