It is 2027, and in a chaotic world where women have become infertile, it is down to one man to ensure the safety of one miraculously pregnant woman.
Office worker Theo Faron (Clive Owen) leads a fairly normal life, or as normal as life can be given the fact that he, along with the rest of the planet, are living under the weight of knowing that the human race is heading for annihilation. This all changes when an old flame (Julianne Moore) shows up making demands of Theo in exchange for a considerable amount of money. He reluctantly accepts her offer and soon finds himself as the sole guardian of the first and only pregnant woman for 18 years, with a terrorist organisation hot on their tails hoping to seize the child when it’s born.
Usually, this type of film is like Marmite – either you love it or you hate it – as is the case with most films under the sci-fi genre. But what is good, in fact brilliant, about Children of Men, is that it spreads across a whole range of genres. In one of the opening scenes, Theo meets up with his longest known friend, Jasper (Michael Caine). This is where we get a feel for some of the comedic undertones of the film, and this is needed as the whole of the film has a fairly heavy storyline. As the story unfolds, touching and dramatic moments are plentifully dotted amongst the many edge-of-your-seat action scenes, giving the film depth.
Possibly what makes this film such enjoyable viewing is the performances. I’m a fan of Clive Owen, and I think he is one of the most underrated actors of his time.
Owen ticks all the right boxes as Theo. Owen as Theo proved to audiences that he is a very adaptable actor, as Theo’s character changes a lot as the will to protect Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey) and survival instincts take over from how he is portrayed at the start of the film. Owen shows that he can’t be type-cast as one particular sort of character as he plays the good guy and the bad guy so well, often at the same time. Ashitey as Kee is also a pleasant surprise, given the fact that she is a relatively unknown actress and no-one really knows what to expect, but she takes on the role of a quietly frightened young woman living in a harsh world excellently. With Caine as the mischievous old Jasper breathing a breath of fresh air (for those of you who have watched or will watch the film, there is no pun intended) whenever he is on-screen to wash over some of the more intense moments, you will struggle to pull yourself away from this masterpiece. He plays the role of an old hippy that has seen it all and done it all brilliantly, and some of his lines in particular will bring a smile to your face. The best thing about all of the characters is that none of them chose to live the lives they have to live – they are just everyday people caught up in the aftermath of what past generations have caused.
Director Alfonso Cuaron does a fantastic job of directing this film. His camera work, particularly in the scenes of the uprising, makes you feel as though you are there; experiencing all of the events as the characters, not just watching them go through the mill. However, the uprising was all filmed with a hand held camera that followed Owen as his character Theo ran through the battlefield, which enables you to feel engulfed and in the midst of war yourself – a perfect feature of a film that grabs you by the throat right from the opening credits.
All in all, this is a thoroughly enjoyable, must-see film for anyone. Whether you are a film fanatic or not, it’s fair to say Children of Men will swallow you up and you’ll find yourself lost in a dystopian London. Thankfully, for our sakes, it spits us back out into reality afterwards, even if the landing is a bit rough.
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