“Children Of Men” depicts a very bleak future. The setting is 2027 and there has not been a human born in eighteen years. Nobody knows why the human race has become infertile. The world has turned in to chaos when the realization sets in that everybody will die out in a matter of years. The only hope now rests on a young girl who has some how gotten pregnant. This is the story in the film directed by Alfonso Cuaron, one of the most gifted directors of this decade.
Clive Owen plays Theodore, a citizen of London, who casually strolls through the chaos around him. Even after the death of the worlds youngest person shocks the world, he seems more interested in getting a coffee. He only comes to his senses when the coffee shop explodes after he exits. While walking down the street he is kidnapped at gun point and brought to his secret location by a group of rebels who want to stage an uprising against the government. They are lead by Julian (Julianne Moore) who was Theo’s former lover. Together they had a young child who passed away. We can feel their history almost immediately.
The group are harboring the only woman to get pregnant on the planet. They plan on getting her to the mysterious Human Project so that they can figure out the solution to the world’s problem. But soon their real motives come to the surface and Theo is forced to take the girl and get her to the project himself. Pursued by the rebels as well as the government, Theo soon finds himself on a mission to save not only the future of man kind, but to save his own sense of humanity. The humanity that was wounded by his own personal loss.
From there Owen guides the girl through a future United Kingdom that looks like a waste land. Cities are almost reduced to ruble, immigrants are herded in to concentration camps and warfare rages in the streets. All of this is brought to terrifying life by the eye of Alfonso Cuaron. Combined with realistic sets, gorgeous locations and impressive cinematography he photographs the images with a painters eye. He also brings the best out of his actors as the performances are all around fine.
Now there is a moment of pure cinema in this movie that took my breath away. After the baby is born, she ends up in her mothers arms, barricaded in a building that is taking fire from surrounding troops. Eventually Theo walks her out, effectively stopping the fighting so she can safely get away. Both sides halt, and gaze upon the baby, touching it as it passes, almost like it is the first peace they have felt in many years. It is a beautiful moment, and really shows the power of this story. After it passes, the fighting commences, almost as if they have all forgotten what they are fighting for, but shooting because they have nothing left.
Movies like this are so important that they simply can not go by unnoticed. Yes it can be called a thriller or a science fiction film, but the story is one that might be that far fetched. It involves shades of events that are similar to what is taking place today in our world. But it is also a human story. A story about redemption and finding your way after experiencing traumatic events. This is one of the years best pictures.