The movie Children of men takes on a completely different direction as the original book by P.D James, which is to an extent quite surprising to many fans of the book. However, it still manages to keep its original themes and many profound values. This movie uses the sci-fi genre to tell a story about a dystopian society in the near future.
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The movie takes place in the year 2027 when the whole world has been plagued, for 18 years, by an infertility crisis. England as the only stable country in the world is facing a refugee crisis from people fleeing the chaos from all around the world. Furthermore, the immigrants are facing brutal treatments while the elders and desperate are being forced with government sponsored euthanasia. Theo Faron, a former activist is kidnapped by the Five Fishes (a terrorist group) to help their leader – his ex-wife Julian Taylor (Julianne Moore) delivering Kee to the Human project – a science project aiming to cure the world of infertility. During their transportation, Julian is ambushed and killed. Kee reveals to Theo that she is pregnant and later Theo finds out that Luke (member of the Five Fishes) and his gang kills Julian and planning to kill him to. He therefore plans to escape and bring Kee to Bexhill – a refugee camp to wait and get on to the boat which takes her to the Human Project.
This movie is emphasized with full of single-shot sequences. If any of you have seen Emmanuel Lubezki excellent cinematography work in the beginning scenes of Gravity, the chasing scene in The Revenant or even the whole length of the movie Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance), you would not be surprised by the outstanding single-shot scenes in Children of Men. The longest scene sees Theo running through the battle in Bexhill refugee camp which goes for 6 minutes and 18 seconds. The most striking single-shot scene is arguably when Theo is in the car running away from the police with Luke, Miriam, Kee and Julia. Because Alfonso Cuaron wants the audience to fully immerse into the movie, this single-shot sequence makes the viewers feel like they are in that car chase which intensified the movie. Moreover, what strikes me most in this movie, as far as the technicality is concerned, is the ringing sound that Alfonso Cuaron brings at the beginning scene of the movie after the explosion at the coffee shop. We can also hear this sound in his movie Gravity when there is an explosion in the space walk. It is a reminiscence of the sound which people with hearing deficiency have to go through every day and when hearing it, it creates a disturbing sensation amongst the viewers which depicts the totality of the chaos that happens in the movie.
The acting in this movie is also a breath of fresh air for any movie goers and especially for any Michael Caine fans. We usually get to see Caine with his posh accent showing his gentleman like in The Dark Knight or his wisdom and warm heart through the role of Dr.Wilbur in The Cider House Rules. However, in Children of Men, Michael Caine presents a whole new picture of himself through the character Jasper. A hippie, goofy, sleazy old drug dealer who acts as Theo’s best friend and the savior of Kee (arguably the savoir of humanities). When seeing the movie, the audience will be slightly surprised and amused by his ridiculous jokes and also his use of slurs and swears words, which put a lighter note to a dark and depressing movie.
Furthermore, the use of symbolism in this movie is quite strong and effective at delivering themes to the audience. The most prominent symbol that appears throughout the whole movie is Kee’s baby. It represents hope because it is the only baby to be born after a long waited 18-year period and it is the start of all actions in this movie. Another important symbolism is the name of the terrorist group “The Five Fishers”, fishes live under water, so it represents the rebirth and renewal according to Christianity. Lastly, another striking symbol which is very different from the book is the name of the Human Project ship “Tomorrow”. It represents a glimpse of hope and future that Kee and the whole humanity are striving for.
All in all, as one of many Alfonso Cuaron’s great works, I highly recommend seeing this movie. Especially, as some of the issues in the movie like immigration is very much related to our society nowadays and hopefully viewers will resonate to this possibly on a deeper level. In my opinion, 1 hour and 49 minutes of this movie will be worthwhile as it warns the audience of an imaginable dark and bleak dystopian society in the near future.
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