Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

It is the year 2027 and the youngest person on the entire planet earth is a 19 year old man named Diego.  In what can only be described as a horrifically catastrophic event, infertility has gripped the world and a child hasn’t been born in nearly twenty years.  Obviously we clearly understand the ramifications of such an occurrence.  In less than 100 years, with no more children, the time of man will end.  In Spanish director’s Alfonso Cuaron’s ‘Children of Men’ he examines a world with no children, which is, essentially a world without hope.  Cauron has also created one of the most compelling, well written and well crafted films, albeit also the most depressing film, I’ve seen as this year as it comes to a close.

Clive Owen is Theodore Faron, a depressed withdrawn, hang dogged claims adjuster who is almost a poster child for the world that surrounds him.  A former activist, he has lost all compassion, desire, and most importantly he has lost all hope.  It is London in the year 2027 and all of the other great societies, including the United States have collapsed.  Only Britain remains, and as a result, has become a destination point for the worlds unwashed masses.  To stop itself from being overrun, Britain has largely become a police state, with citizens requiring papers and I.D. cards and walls set up separating those that have nothing from those that have a little something.  When Theodore enters a crowded coffee shop, a news flash comes up alerting the masses that baby Diego, as he was known, has died.  The patrons are crushed, Theodore just wants his latte.  He exits the coffee shop which mere seconds later explodes due to a terrorist bomb.  This is what society has become as anarchy has completely run rampant.

Theodore soon receives a surprise visit from his ex-wife Julian (Julianne Moore).  She has come to ask Theodore a favor, despite the fact that they haven’t seen each other in twenty years.  They have a tragic past, and it is apparent, despite the time apart, they haven’t recovered from the tragedy or from each other.  She introduces him to Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey) who needs traveling papers and protection.  She wants to get Kee to a possibly mythical sanctuary called the Human Project that is attempting to save humanity.  Why is Kee so important to this project, and actually, to the world?  Kee is the first pregnant woman in twenty years.  Julian has essentially put the future of the world into the hands of a man who doesn’t care if he lives or dies.  Theodore manages to find a part of himself that he thought was long dead and fights against all odds to save Kee and her unborn child.

‘Children of Men’ one of the darkest, bleakest, most hopeless films I’ve seen a while.  The world that Cauron has crafted is lifeless, its colors are muted, and its inhabitants are destructively violent, unreasonably hopeful or benignly passive.  It’s also an extremely powerful and moving film.  Amidst the despair there are sprinkles of levity such as Theodore’s best friend Jasper, played with outlandish hippie flair by the always outstanding Michael Caine, who even in the darkest moments can find humor and laughter.  In the moments that Theodore spends with Julian you can sense these two individuals once had a very special bond that sadly couldn’t survive what the world has become.

The cast is a good one Chiwetal Ejiofor, who is quickly becoming one the premiere actors of this generation portraying a freedom fighter who either Kee’s vicious protector or her malicious imprisoner.  Claire-Hope Ashitey was equally outstanding, considering her relative inexperience, in the role as basically the savior of the humanity.  Clive Owen, who in my opinion is a very good actor, and he was also very good in this, but he is getting type cast a bit with variations of the unshaven, deadpan, emotionless characters he’s been given as of late.  One could be concerned that this all the man can do.

‘Children of Men’ definitely isn’t fare for the light of heart as this a violent, unforgiving, unflinching film.  Be it an empty classroom which has become dilapidated due to it’s obsolescence, or having the camera dropped in the middle of a war zone, Cauron has staged scenes which pack power and resonance, and the task given to Theodore appears to be completely unwinnable.  A brave and powerful film, ‘Children of Men’ comes to you highly recommended. 

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