Children of Men
Cast: Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Charlie Hunnam, Michael Caine, Chiwetel Ejiofor
Director: Alfonso Cuaron
SUNY Purchase '05
"I don't compromise my values and I don't compromise my work. I won't give in." -Michael Moore
Children of Men
Review By: Rocco Passafuime
Children of Men
The future dystopia subgenre of science-fiction has had a history of being a highly stylized, yet brutally grim allegory of what the future might be like. This traditional vision of the future dystopia has been portrayed in the past in films like Blade Runner, Akira, Dark City, and Minority Report.
However, when acclaimed Mexican screenwriter/director Alfonso CuarÃƒn decided to adapt P.D. James's 1992 novel Children of Men, he chose a wholly different approach. The result of CuarÃƒn's vision is a film of the same name, which is now available on DVD.
It is 2027 in London, England and the country is the only remotely bright light left in a world marred by war, starvation, disease, terrorist attacks, and most importantly, widespread infertility. As a result of surviving, however, Britain has transformed into an anti-immigrant police state.
Theo Faron (Clive Owen) is a former political activist consigned to a life of drinking and a perfunctory job, after losing his son in a flu pandemic and breaking up with his fellow activist girlfriend Julian Taylor (Julianne Moore) soon after.
Soon enough, however, Theo gets kidnapped by a terrorist organization known as The Fishes and comes face to face with Julian again, who is now the group's leader. She requests for Theo to help her get transit papers for a young African woman named Kee (Claire Hope-Ashitey). She also requests for him to provide her safe passage to a boat on the waters of the end of the country, to be intercepted by a sanctuary group known as The Human Project.
Theo soon discovers that Kee is pregnant with potentially the first child to be born in 18 years. However, he soon realizes that foul play is afoot when he discovers Julian was set up to be killed by The Fishes right hand, Luke (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and his most skilled associate Patric (Charlie Hunnam), who plan to use the baby as a tool to further their own political cause.
As a result, Theo quickly escapes with Kee and her soon-to-be-born baby in tow as they seek the help of various individuals, including his old pot-smoking hippie friend Jasper Palmer (Michael Caine). Children Of Men is undoubtedly the most unique future dystopia to come along since Blade Runner. However, while that film used highly stylized art direction to make its cinematic point, filmmaker Alfonso CuarÃƒn opts for a dreary and highly-detailed realistic style.
As a result, the film shows an often disturbingly realistic and probable near-future. This already highly accomplished feat is only buoyed by fantastic performances from Owen, Moore, Caine, and the rest of the cast, as well as the thrilling and often single-shot action sequences. Also noteworthy is incredibly amazing, highly realistic effects during the scene when Kee goes into labor.
The DVD's picture quality is in the 1:85:1 widescreen aspect ratio, with the sound
The first is a collection of three deleted scenes cut from the film. As typical with most deleted scenes, they are mildly interesting, but add little to the film as a whole.
The second feature is a nearly half-hour-long documentary titled The Possibility of Hope, made by CuarÃƒn. In it, different environmental and globalization activists, including philosopher Slavoj Zizek, offer insightful commentary against a backdrop of grisly news footage on how the dark future presented in Children of Men is a frightening possibility in reality.
The third feature is an interview with Zizek. He offers his own personal commentary and thoughts on the film and what he has to say is often quite insightful.
The fourth feature is a behind-the-scenes featurette titled Under Attack, which focuses on the intense and thrilling action sequences that take place during the film. It features great interviews with director Alfonso CuarÃƒn and actors Clive Owen and Julianne Moore, as well as various crew members.
The fifth feature is a featurette titled Theo & Julian, which focuses on the relationship between the film's two central characters. It features interviews with CuarÃƒn, Owen, and Moore, as well as various production personnel.
The sixth feature is a featurette titled Futuristic Design, which focuses on the realistic art direction CuarÃƒn wanted for his vision of the film. It has interviews with CuarÃƒn, as well as various crew members who contributed to the design of the film. And rounding off the special features is a featurette titled Visual Effects: Creating The Baby which is an incredible visual step-by-step demonstration of how they created the CGI baby during Kee's birthing scene.
While the film may be a bit too dark for some audiences and doesn't always maintain its thrilling momentum, Children of Men is the most realistic future dystopia to ever be made. The special features of the film's DVD provides plenty of exciting and interesting information that only adds to power of the film's realism.
Movie Grade: A-
DVD Grade: A
Overall Grade: A