04/10/2006

CHILDREN OF MEN (woot a review)


Children of Men

Clive Owen pulls a career memorable performance, in a deliberately understated and perfectly toned portrayal of Theo, a disillusioned rebel turned Government Clerical Worker. Its 2027 and Theo has been approached by an ex girlfriend and culture jammer. In a world where the human race has lost the ability to give birth (thankfully the reason is never explained), Theo excepts a £5000 bribe to escort a chased refugee to safety, and embarks on his journey, which puts his life in danger from both the government and the rebels alike.

I am sure that Owen’s performance is due to the excellent director Alfonso Cuaran who has managed to reinvent both the Sci-Fi and the Action genre all in the space of two hours. His subtle use of CGI to enhance a mix of steady cam and basic (yet wonderful) physical acting makes the film stand shoulders above many big budget films, that just don’t have the balls of this production. From the start of the film we are in the middle of the action and it never lets up until the calm yet satisfying conclusion.

What we have here is a very disturbing vision of the future, mirroring our current time, with themes of immigrant hatred, terrorism, and corrupted humanity. The film goes to show that even the best of ideals are conditioned to the will of men as easily as they are born. The film references themes as diverse as Nazi Germany to Pink Floyd albums covers, and is thankfully a visual tour-de-force.

Theo is not a modern hero; he is a man who is reactionary and has no desire to give anything back, and this is what makes the film so exciting. We experience his journey not from a a camera on the wings, but from the right in the middle of the action. To be honest Theo is more understandable than most of modern cinemas, men of honour.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film, although the comedy is handled less thoughtfully than the rest of the film, the moments are welcome, and the characters such as Michael Caine’s drug dealing hippy are top notch. Julianne Moore’s role is great as the ex that sparks Clive Owen back into action, and her role is pivotal to the switch from “calm” to “edge of the seat.”

The end of the film is inevitable but still leaves a heartfelt taste of sugar as opposed to the saccharine sweetness so easily offered these days. An excellent film that should be watched several times, then purchased on DVD straight away in around six months time.

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