This past weekend my wife and I had the opportunity to see Children of Men at the movies. Wow. This flick was spectacular. The cinematography was top notch, and the acting (with great performances by Clive Owen, Julianne Moore and Michael Caine) was excellent.
The backstory is that it is the year 2027 and most of the world has gone into chaos. One of the few places with any order is England, where “Homeland Security” keeps people in line by ruling with an iron fist. It’s a police state at all of the borders, and any refugees are herded up and sent to prison camps. The other big story is that there hasn’t been a baby born on Earth in the last 18 years. The whole world has been infertile that entire time. There are no children laughing, the schools have all gone into disarray, playgrounds are empty. It’s actually rather creepy. Despite some people maybe thinking otherwise.
Part of the movie takes place in one of the prison camps which is basically an old fenced-in city. The urban warfare resembles a lot of what I’ve read and seen video and pictures of in Iraq. The camera work and direction really elicits a visceral reaction, maybe moreso because you know this is actually going on elsewhere in the world.
I guess that is what makes the movie so powerful. Nothing is over-the-top enough to make it not believable. Other than the infertility piece, you can picture everything else happening to us. We’ve seen the prison camps in our own country before. We’ve seen looting and lawlessness and curfews before. It’s nothing new, it’s just at a higher level, and one that I can actually envision taking place.
And that scares the hell out of me.
The movie is bleak and dark, and even the glimmer of hope is kind of dim. This isn’t a happy date movie. It’s a movie that will affect you. Without ruining the story, I’ll just say that one part of the movie caused me to burst into tears. It wasn’t because of sadness, it was the power of the moment, and how fleeting it was, that affected me. It surprised me that I responded like I did, but I guess that’s why I liked the movie so much.
I cannot recommend this movie enough. Go see it in theaters while you still can!