Movie Review: Children of Men

The new release Children of Men is a dystopian thriller that demands attention. Alfonso Cuarón adds to his directing (and writing) credits an exemplary dystopian sci-fi tale. Brimming with visual style, this film manages to thrill while successfully diving into the realm of subtle social commentary. So where can you watch this movie? The answer is unlockmytv apk that you can download on your android device as you click on the link.

Clive Owen (Inside Man) stars in this hard-hitting look at the future alongside Julianne Moore (Boogie Nights), Chiwetel Ejiofor (Inside Man), and Michael Caine (Batman Begins). Set in the year 2027, this film is about a forlorn society in which humans have lost the ability to procreate. The world has spiraled into a predictably fatalistic situation in which England is one of the only “super-powers” remaining.

However, when the young woman Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey) becomes pregnant, a struggle ensues over whether to use the baby for political means or take it to the mythical Human Project to potentially save mankind. Theo (Clive Owen) is a depressed worker bee who gets unwittingly thrust into the situation, and is eventually tasked with seeing Kee to safety.

This film is clearly Cuarón’s baby, so to speak. Though based on a 1992 book of the same name by P.D. James, it was co-written by Cuarón and four relative newcomer scribes. Cuarón was apparently reluctant to get involved with the film at first because he was not interested in doing sci-fi. He changed his mind when he realized how conducive the unique story was to addressing current issues in an indirect manner.

The film does this, with alarming effectiveness. We are given scenes of inhumane treatment of immigrants, racism, cynicism, and blatant government control of the media. All of these things suggest not where we are, but perhaps where we are going if changes are not made. That said, until the very end, the movie is a bit of a downer. It deals with tangible issues and serves up drama that hits hard. There is an overwhelming sense of hopelessness throughout much of the journey, which makes the twists that more jarring.

Children of Men is the first film in a while to truly grab the viewer by the unmentionables and not let go until its thrilling conclusion. This is due to the great script, immersive production, and stellar direction. I found the combination of production and direction quite clever in that a complacent viewer could mistake the time period of the film for the present day. This is no doubt part of the filmmakers’ desire to use the story as a reflection of current reality.

For instance, in the first scene we are introduced to this dreary future society from inside a simple coffee shop. When the camera is slowly walked out into the street, it could be any busy urban downtown. However, by including Theo in the same frame as a double-decker London bus with a computerized advertisement sign, it is clear that we are in another time. Subtle visual tricks such as this abound, and are a testament to the effort taken to give meaning to the smaller details.

Much has been said about Cuarón’s distinctive long takes, and for good reason. The notable example of this technique is a virtuoso scene taking place during the climax. It follows the hero into, through, and out of a chaotic, incredibly violent riot that rivals Saving Private Ryan’s beach scene in its intensity.

The effect of minimizing the editing in this and other instances is that the viewer is thrust directly into the action with no time to catch his or her bearings. While in other movies I might have been thinking about plot or gawking at the visuals, this scene forced me to live the action alongside the characters. Few movies have that affect on frequent moviegoers, who are accustomed to the flash-bang special effects and breakneck editing of typical Hollywood fare.

As important to a film’s clout as imagery is its ability to establish an emotional connection. The viewer not only has to care, but has to want to care about the characters. Children of Men’s protagonists earn the audience’s genuine concern with their imperfections and undeniable courage. For the first time in a while, I was heavily invested in the well-being of the characters. The screenplay achieves this by painting a picture of true desperation, and also humanizing the characters by making them quite funny.

For a moviegoer who loves dark movies with great action that also manage to thrill, Children of Men is a grand slam. In fact, I mentioned to a friend that this was the scariest movie I had seen for several months. This was not due any cheap thrills or unnecessary gore.

It was scary because 1) the characters are so real and flawed that you care about them, and 2) the movie’s slick execution convinces the viewer that something like this could really happen.

Score: 9/10

 

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