An emotionally gripping sci-fi thriller, Children of Men offers a bleak, uncompromising glimpse into the future.
The setting is London, 2027. For the past 18 years humans have been infertile, throwing the world into chaos as political radicals and Islamic militants terrorize the public with constant bombings, and fascist governments rule with a stern grip, grouping up and deporting illegal immigrants.
Clive Owen stars as Theo, a jaded former activist who has lost all hope in a world without any. Theo is contacted by his estranged wife Julian (Julianne Moore) who is the head of political radical group. She asks him to use his connections within the Government to help transport a heavily pregnant young African woman named Key (Claire-Hope Ashitey) out of the country, and away from the preying eyes of the Government and radical groups who all want the baby for their own agendas.
Based on the novel by P.D. James, Children of Men is deftly directed by Alfonso Cuaron and filled with great performances by Clive Owen, Michael Caine as an aging hippie, and a scene stealing Peter Mullan as pompous immigration officer, Syd.
The visuals in this movie are mind blowing, with Cuaron and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki bringing the action genre to new heights, the camera right in the thick of and never flinching away from the violence depicted on screen. This is tense, surreal filmmaking at its finest with a roadside ambush a very disturbing, terrifying action piece shot in one take, a scene of the year candidate if there ever was one.
The religious overtones throughout the film are very strong. Keys baby is seen as a saviour for the human race, while the comparisons between Key and the Virgin Mary are powerful (which Keys character jokingly refers to in one particular scene).
Another highlight is the technological advances which are shown in a much more progressive, realistic slant when compared to other futuristic films. The use of music is also very affective, with highlights belonging to King Crimson’s “The Court of the Crimson King” and Franco Battiato’s version of the Rolling Stones’ “Ruby Tuesday”.
A major message to be taken from Children of Men is that the miracle of child birth cannot be taken for granted, nor should issues such as the environment, immigration, fascism and violence be ignored. At the end, though, it is felt that without hope, without faith, than what is there to live for?