January 6, 2007

Movie Review: Children of Men

I don't usually review movies because my tastes tend to be a little esoteric and because it's tough to do without plot giveaways. The accompanying shot takes place before the opening credits so you didn't have anything spoiled.

If you've seen the television trailer, and I don't see how you could miss it, you know it is a darkly shot film set in 2027. The main plot theme is that fertility has ended worldwide but a young woman is pregnant and needs to be escorted to a safe place. Clive Owen in another stunning performance is her unwilling escort. In fact the performances are outstanding thoughout, even down to Michael Caine -- never one of my favorites -- who is totally convincing as a ganga-smoking aging hippie.

Alfonso Cuaron, a Mexican director who brough us Y Tu Mama Tambien and Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban, has created a chilling England with too many echoes of the present. Rounded up immigrants stand in open cages on the street while the busses that move them from place to place are labeled "Homeland Security."

Although it doesn't deserve any comparison, I can't help a little Blade Runner comparison with the cinematography. It is dark and pale but, unlike Blade Runner, not the least but slick. You can almost taste the grit and blood and smoke in the air. During battle scenes there is a lot of hand-held camera work that adds to the street level scenes rather than seeming like a badly done film school technique.

This is not a cheerful movie, but while chilling it isn't as depressing at one might think. There are several totally uplifting though brief scenes. But there is no phoney cheer here. Go anyway. It is the best movie I have seen in a very long time. I will see it again.


Lisa McMann said...

Hello, I'm bored with this picture already.

Scott Lemieux said...

I so need to see this...