Children of men is set in England in the dystopian 2027 where the world has fallen into chaos and fascism because all women on the planet have become infertile, so a baby hasn’t been born in 18 years. The plot follows Theo Faron (Clive Owen) as he discovers the first pregnant woman in 18 years and tries to escort her to the coast. Directed by Alfonso Cuaron and staring Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Kane, Clara-Hope Ashitey and Chiwetel Ejiofor, the film is a powerful social message and a harrowing portrail of a world devoid of hope.
The films major strengths are its cinematography and it’s world building. The cinematography is absolutely masterful, the film is full the the brim with long tracking shots that follow the characters as the navigate the amazing set pieces of the film. They go on and on don’t stop! I was holding my breath, not daring to look away during the sometimes over 10 minute long shots. The entire arc and plot can drastically change without the camera making a single cut. It makes you wonder how they managed to orchestrate the chaos that happens in some of the shots. The camera is involved in the action making you feel like your following the characters through the dirt and destruction. For example, if the characters are trying to remain hidden the camera will hide with them so your just as tense as they are as to whether they’ll be found! It’s hard to talk about the amazing way this is filmed without spoiling it, but the long takes are incredible and immersive and are one of things making this film great. The shot in the car is famous as one of the best long takes of all time.
The cinematography is matched only by the atmosphere the film creates. The small details that aren’t explained make the world feel fully formed and real. The Dystopia feels so believable and real the first time I watch this I was scared by how plausible this future is! Every time I watch it I see new things which make the film even better! Again I don’t want to say too much as I don’t want to spoil anything, but the brutality and chaos depicted of this fascist dystopia make the film uncomfortable and sad to witness, but that makes it all the better because that’s what it should feel like! The scenes of anyone ‘not British’ being put in cages and Ghetto’s are only the surface of how messed up this future is! Many other dystopian future films are upsetting and disturbing but fall short of being realistic, this film feels very realistic and it’s all the better because of it.
The plot is also strong and unpredictable but I will not talk about it much in fear of spoiling it, but it is thrilling and unpredictable.
The films weakness is in some of its performances. There not exactly bad, but I just feel like they don’t bring much and are very monotone and one note. Clive Owen, Clara-Hope Ashitey and even Julianne Moore, and some of the other supporting cast, don’t show a lot of range in this film, they do fine its just not what stands out in the film. That’s probably more because their characters aren’t written to be interesting. That being said Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Cane do very well in there supporting roles and are the stand outs of the cast (casting Michael Cane as an old stoner was a stroke of genius haha) and the extras that fill the big scenes are great too and make the world feel real.
However, the film isn’t really about the characters, it’s about the world and feeling they were trying to create, an they do that fantastically. This film is a must watch if you have an interest in film making, and if you don’t you should still watch it, but be wary because it can be upsetting, but very powerful.
P.S Avoid the trailer to this film if you can, because it spoils the ending.