Children of Men – A Review

In Learn
Jan 5th, 2007

I was able to go see “Children of Men” last night because I had won some free passes during a karaoke contest before Christmas (which is an entirely different story for another time). Let me offer a word of caution before I begin. I’ve never written a movie review and in fact I hate movie reviews in general. If I think a movie looks good to me I’ll go see it regardless of any negative reviews it might have. This movie has made me want to write a movie review, but it will probably be my last movie review because I have two children under the age of four and I don’t get out to the movies much anymore. So here goes.

I had not seen any previews of this movie prior to seeing it and I only read one user’s comments on IMDB. So going in I really had no idea what this movie was about.

The first thirty minutes or so of the movie I can only describe as disorienting. You are thrust into the year 2027 and everyone across the world is mourning the death of Baby Diego, the youngest living person at 18 years old. Everyone is crying for the death of someone they have never met, reminiscent of Princess Diana. Theodore Faron, Clive Owen’s character, is some kind of government worker and lives in London. Apparently the world in 2027 has gone to shit, but we are never really told why. You have to pay attention during the movie’s first half hour to try and pick up some of the things in the background, quick little new casts, newspapers taped to walls, graffiti, etc. Usually I don’t mind this, but this world is so vastly different from ours today (remember it’s only 20 years in the future) that the little tidbits you do pick up just only raise more questions. Somehow most of the other countries in the world fell apart and there also seems to have been nuclear weapons used. Miraculously, England is one of the remaining untouched nations. I guess no one bothered to nuke them when they were nuking everyone else; I think that surely the French would have done it purely out of spite. This predicament causes England to be a haven for refugees. England cannot handle them all so the impose a no immigrant policy and shut down all travel in and out of the country. England also becomes a giant police state with cameras everywhere watching (from what I’ve read about England it is getting close to this today).

Clive Owen does a decent job as the loner, social outcast, rebel character. However, this seems to be the type of role he plays in every movie. I don’t know if he’s been type cast into this role type or if he just likes these roles. I find it a shame because I find the fellow rather likable and would like to see him in some more challenging roles. Michael Caine is excellent as always; this time as a hippieish pot grower, ex-political cartoonist. His part is unfortunately very small and is really only a minor character to the story. Theo is contacted by his ex-girlfriend/wife played by Julianne Moore. Julian Taylor, Moore’s character, wants Theo to help her move an illegal immigrant across country through government checkpoints to the coast. Theo only agrees because Taylor and her friends agree to pay him, money which he apparently needs.

The illegal immigrant, Kee played by Claire-Hope Ashitey, turns out is eight months pregnant (remember Baby Diego was the youngest living human when he died at 18). This leaves Kee with the dilemma of carrying the first baby about to born into the world in 18 years. This is why they are trying to smuggle her out of the country. Julian wants to get Kee to something called the “Human Project” which can take care of Kee and her new baby. The rest of the movie revolves around that theme and all of the obstacles they must overcome to accomplish it.

Frankly, I found the movie to be terrible which drove me to write this review. The movie was just too unbelievable. I tried very hard to like this movie; it just seemed to me that it was trying to be too clever. In what I’m guessing was suppose to be the movie’s most poignant scene, Miriam, who is a former midwife and is caring for the pregnant Kee, is recalling with Theo about how all the babies disappeared. She goes on to say that the mother’s in her care kept miscarrying their babies and that there were no new appointments. She called other midwives around England and those midwives had the same experiences. All the human women in the world suddenly became infertile. I found this to be just too unbelievable. A city, a region, maybe even a large region of the world going infertile might be believable, but the entire world almost instantaneously? I’m just not buying it. I can’t suspend reality that far. There is also no explanation, no reason given for the infertility. Miriam, played by Pam Ferris, goes on to tell Theo about how sad it was to be around when all of the children’s laughter disappeared. This entire conversation takes place, surprise-surprise, inside an abandoned school, because who needs schools when there are no children (see what I mean about trying too hard). Miriam seems to be alluding to the fact that it was the children in the world that kept it from slipping into chaos. Excuse me! The children keep our world sane? I don’t think so. Turn on the news sometime; does the world look sane to you? Humans are savages with children around and we’ll be savages when and if they are ever gone. Children do make life bearable and we need them to propagate the species, but does anyone really think of the children before they drop that bomb on Baghdad or set of that roadside bomb next to a market in Fallujah?

I don’t want to give away much more of this movie in case you do happen to want to see it. I just believe the writer and director were trying to make a point about something but I’m not entirely sure what that point really was. Maybe it was like that great philosopher Whitney Houston once said, “I believe the children are our future, teach them well…” but for god’s sake don’t let them see this movie.

This post was originally posted under my old Blogger account and has been reposted here backdated to its original posting date (how many versions of “post” can I put into a sentence).