I am not sure why, but this movie just didn't compel me as I think it should have. I loved the plot idea, but the execution of that idea wasnít great or exciting either- it didnít go where it should have. In fact, it didnít go anywhere. The technical points and long shots employed by Alfonso Cuaron are in reality the only commendable facets of the film. There were things about Children of Men that made it sag -- sometimes the flow was interrupted; sometimes people did stupid and inane things; unanswered questions and unexplained points were plentiful. Those issues made the movie, like my last one-night stand, less satisfying than I thought it would be.
Children of Men takes place against the backdrop of a conflict-torn world in the year 2027. The planet, it appears, has suffered a visit from Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death for you non-Biblical types). Humanity is on the brink of extinction, as for nearly two decades women have lost the ability to conceive and bear children due to causes unknown. As a result, the world has plunged into utter chaos and even the worldís strongest and mightiest nations have imploded. Governments race against time and each other to solve the fertility crisis which has now reached a dire pitch, exacerbating the impending doom of the human race. Everyone prays that one day the sound of a child's cry will pierce the sounds of explosions, gunfire, and loudspeakers blaring propaganda. Tragically, though, the fragile fate of humanity has been dealt a shattering blow; the world's youngest inhabitant, affectionately named Baby Diego, has died at age 18. It looks as if mankindís last flicker of hope has been extinguished, and the species shall perish.
However, in the midst of international discord and conceptional dysfunction, Britain seems to have fared better than other nations, including the United States, now burdened by civil war. As a result, Britain is being inundated with people fleeing their countries for the island nation to escape their own native lands that are mired in grave misery. This influx of refugees has led the government to call upon British nationals to report illegal aliens for deportation. Regulated to the ghettos, ethnic factions fight against British troops and each other for the chance to stay put.
Theo (Clive Owen), a formal radical, now a government lackey and highly functioning alcoholic, goes about his daily life seemingly resigned to humanity's demise. He trudges amidst posters advertising the suicide drug Quietus, a government sponsored 'solution' for those "who just can't take it anymore". Theo's only friend is the eccentric Jasper (Michael Caine) a hippie professor who cares for his vegetable wife and has his own opinions about the world. He believes that the oft whispered about "Human Project", a sea-borne and clandestine coalition of scientists who are working towards an infertility solution, is a myth. Theo just dismissed it as well, but his beliefs are quickly changed.
Theo is unwillingly recruited by his ex-wife Julian (Julianne Moore) to help them obtain fake papers to help smuggle an illegal immigrant to a port city, for an undisclosed reason. He wants no part of the venture until he is let in on the secret purpose of the mission-- an illegal immigrant; Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey) is miraculously pregnant. (For once an unwed mother with no idea of the fatherís identity will actually help society, instead of decay it). She needs to get to the Human Project and thusly is being fiercely protected by an underground network whose sole mission is to get Kee to safety, or so it seems. If Kee's pregnancy is discovered, she and her baby would be kidnapped by the government, and used as a political pawn, and God knows what else. Naturally, the young mother doesnít want her baby to be taken away and she begs Theo to help her, he agrees to do so.
Naturally the balance of the film follows Theo trying to get Kee to the Human Project safely while being chased by nefarious factions who want to get their hands on the girl and her unborn child for their own ends. This should have made for a great story and spectacular movie, but it didnít. Instead, I just had problems taking the whole story seriously as it seemed that it was a conglomeration of separate characters that were just in the same place at the same time. None of the players grew, changed, or aroused sympathy Ė it was hard to care for any of them, or if they succeeded. (Actually I cared so little for them, I kinda wanted them to fail).
Children of Men dismally failed to grab and pull the viewer into it and there was a clear separation by the silver screen of the movie and the audience. It lacked any interesting and provoking content and lost all promise after the first half hour, and the viewer continually finds themselves more and more detached from what happens. There is one great shot that happens towards the end of the film that I truly did like, and itís a poignant moment in the movie, but then the film resumes its triteness and I continued to shift restlessly in my seat. Despite the fantastic visual manner in which the film was shot, the movie is mainly about people shooting at and double crossing each other, and Clive Owen boring the shit out of the audience. The movie canít seem to find itself or explain its rationale. I know Iím in the minority, as most critics gave it a glowing rating, but I just didnít feel this one.
Who knows, maybe itís because I hate kids.
Czarina's First Date Rating: I rate this movie B; which means if I saw it on a first date I would*:
* Czarina does not give blow jobs on the first date... (often).
Czarina's Captious Compliment of Caustic Comment:† The Children of Men has birth defects.
The Children of Czarina
Order from Amazon
Internet Movie Database Listing