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Children of Men: Movie Review

Genre: Drama / Action
Rated: R
Directed by
: Alfonso Cuarón
Starring: Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Claire-Hope Ashitey, Michael Caine
Released by:
Universal Pictures

In Short: Intensely violent and emotional, this futuristic look at a bleak world where all women are infertile is a strikingly prophetic—and scary—work of art.

Bleak Future, Bright Movie
Is This World Right Around the Corner?

by Jenny Peters

Alfonso Cuarón's “Children of Men,” a dark, brilliant adaptation of British author P.D. James' bestselling novel, is not for kids—nor for the weak of heart. This bleak look at what our world could devolve into just twenty years from now is a perfect fictional companion to the popular documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” in which Al Gore chillingly maps out the dire soon-to-come effects of human pollution on the earth's ability to sustain life.

In this quasi-science-fiction account, the human race has made such a mess of the environment (through massive pollution, devastating wars, etc.) that women worldwide have become infertile with no baby born anywhere on earth in more than eighteen years. The fact has caused much of the populace of war-ravaged London and elsewhere to fall into real and emotional chaos, depression, and a universal feeling of futility.

That attitude of futility is embodied by Theo Faron (Clive Owen), a jaded former activist who has become a cog in the oppressive government's wheel. He slogs through his daily life with the help of an alcohol-filled pocket flask until the sudden reappearance of his ex-wife Julian (Julianne Moore). She's stayed an activist, leading a growing anti-government resistance movement.

Her arrival back into his life is tied to both the coming bloody revolt as well as a much more important event—Julian has a young pregnant woman under her protection. Enlisting Theo to use his connections to allow the miracle mother-to-be to escape the war zone, Julian sets off a series of often shocking events that unfold in breathtaking rapidity, and that thrust Theo into the role of unlikely hero—and possible savior of the human race.

Mixing brilliantly constructed images of a fractured world with intensely realistic scenes of armed conflict, Cuarón has created a film that makes a strong commentary on today's international political choices and their possible ramifications for our collective future. At the same time, through the powerful performances given by everyone involved and a well-written script, the film also manages to be a personal and emotional journey. It leaves the viewer with both hope for the future as well as a burning desire to do something now, in real life, to help stave off this terrifying prospect of the soon-to-be future.

Updated: (9/21/09 AR)

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