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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 21.71%
Average: 6.2%
Pretty Bad: 10.08%
Total Crap: 7.75%

10 reviews, 69 user ratings

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Children of Men
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by Mark Rodger-Snelson

"An excellent sci fi with one foot planted firmly in reality"
4 stars

Based on the novel of the same name by PD James, Children of Men is the third film by the talented and versatile Alfonso Cuarón (Y tu mamá también & Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban). It is a gritty sci fi thriller set only 20 years or so in the future, a time where women have become infertile and the human race is facing extinction in around 60 years – as one piece of graffiti in the film puts it ‘The future is a thing of the past’.

Clive Owen plays Theo, a disillusioned London based office worker whose depression after a failed marriage and death of their only son fits in with an equally disenchanted city where news has just broken that the youngest person in the world (18 years old) has just died. Theo’s wife Julian (Julianne Moore), who heads an alleged terrorist organization, pays him an unexpected visit to ask for his assistance with obtaining transit papers for an illegal refugee named Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey) who her group needs to escort to safety. Initially he is not interested but when 5000 pounds is offered he soon comes around to the idea.

Theo manages to obtain papers through a family contact but they come with the condition that he needs to be the refugee’s escort. Soon after Theo is thrown into a dangerous plot that involves escorting Kee to the coast to put her in the care of a mysterious organization called the Human Project. Kee is a young female refugee of African descent who may well hold the key to the survival of the human race. She is very precious cargo that many people, including the government, would be very keen to get their hands on.

We learn from a news report early in the film that Britain is the last remaining civilization that has not been thrown into chaos, but it sure is a long way from being a utopia. Instead it is more like a military state where refuges are rounded up like animals and held in detention centres that are like a cross between Nazi Germany and what we have seen in recent years from Abu Ghraib. It is for this reason that transporting a refugee across the country is an incredibly risky affair that could result in harsh penalties.

One of the many factors that make Children of Men a great film is the fact that Cuarón has not gone over the top with the technology aspect as many futuristic films have a tendency to do. This, combined with a chillingly realistic vision as to where current politics might take us, makes the world within Children of Men seem plausible and scarily, a world very much within reach. The movie is shot in a washed out monotone that suits both the gritty landscape and the depressed mood of its inhabitants.

It is also a well paced film that balances the drama and action very successfully. It even remembers to throw in a bit of comedy here and there so that the gloom of the subject matter does not weigh down too heavily on the audiences shoulders. These comic touches mainly come from Michael Caine’s marijuana harvesting hippie who lives ‘off the grid’ in a secret woodland hideout and considers Aphex Twin to be Zen music. Clive Owen is excellent in Children of Men as he transforms from a depressed soul to a passionate man with a purpose, as is the rest of the cast with notable performances from Chiwetel Ejiofor and Claire-Hope Ashitey

Children of Men is a powerful and provocative piece of filmmaking where Cuarón remains faithful to the source but also raises questions about the current political climate and the effect is quite haunting. This is an action film with brains and a sci fi with its feet planted somewhere very close to reality.

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originally posted: 10/24/06 20:26:29
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2014 Boston SciFi Film Festival For more in the 2014 Boston Sci-Fi Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/24/14 dr.lao I'm just glad I wasn't depressed when I watched it 5 stars
5/26/14 Richard Brandt Cuaron's nervously roaming camera lends credence to this bleak, bleak world 4 stars
11/19/12 Sean Harrison A great beginning and a great ending, terrible otherwise. 2 stars
10/02/10 bored mom This rips off American Cyborg: Steel Warrior, except it won't give you a brain hemorrhage. 3 stars
6/17/09 Bonny Javo An interesting idea about the future reduced to a pretentious and plodding chase venue. 2 stars
4/25/09 TheGoc Dark but spectaular story of our near possible future if we continue in the wrong direction 5 stars
4/03/09 Pete Snot A technical marvel bereft of any intelligence, useful plot or characters you'd care about. 1 stars
4/03/09 Gorgon Zola A movie that makes it a point to be pointless. A partonizing script and no ending. Awful. 1 stars
1/11/09 Sully I still find it tough to understand what those crazy Brits are saying! 4 stars
11/19/08 David Newell Filmview Magazine says that this has the "stupidest title in motion picture history" 1 stars
10/08/08 Shaun Wallner I did'nt get it. Very Confusing. 2 stars
9/21/08 mr.mike It was....fair. 3 stars
4/21/08 Vineet Doshi Not exactly superb, but a good movie nonethelss. 4 stars
3/22/08 Matt awesome movie, eerily realistic, 1& 2 star raters-you guys are fuckin retarted 5 stars
1/28/08 R.W.Welch Done with great expertise, tho premise is hard to buy. 4 stars
11/01/07 Wake up, people! This is really, sad.. My first serious movie and liek omg it's liek so 'heavy' and 'deep'. i'm smart now, kthxbye 2 stars
10/24/07 Clarence Anyone who gives this film less than five stars is obviously braindead. 5 stars
10/24/07 William Goss A viscerally impressive rendering of an all-too-feasible future. 5 stars
9/13/07 I-K Visually and stylistically gob-smacking, woven through with references subtle and overt. 5 stars
8/28/07 kris A great film, obviously too smart for many here. 5 stars
8/22/07 Double M Technicaly great but flat characters, uninvolving, not THAT deep; didn't make me care. 3 stars
7/08/07 Tom Servo Finally a serious and deep sci-fi film-people with short attention spans beware 5 stars
7/07/07 K. Sear Meandered aimlessly and gave no incentive to care about the outcome. 1 stars
6/27/07 rw this movie blew. not worth the money to rent it. too many unanswered questions. 1 stars
5/30/07 Piz As you can see you'll either love it or hate it. Engaging movie with a flat ending. 4 stars
5/28/07 mb Dark 4 stars
5/26/07 Dan Pointless and confused. 1 stars
5/14/07 Elisa This film sucked 1 stars
5/07/07 Indrid Cold Yet another film enormously influenced by the cinematography of Saving Private Ryan. 4 stars
5/07/07 Tracey Chambers great movie, enuff said 5 stars
5/06/07 Todd Don't let the name fool you, this movie kicks ass. 5 stars
5/06/07 AJ Muller SciFi yes, but the dramatic weight is what gives this movie its power. Astounding. 5 stars
4/29/07 Geraldine Riveting, indeed. I loved this movie. 5 stars
4/23/07 matthew Uninvolving, terrible performances but good cinematography. Not as good as it thinks it is 3 stars
4/17/07 Stevo UK Its not us and our machines that are damaging the planet, its God-awful films like these. 1 stars
4/17/07 Jefenator Best I've seen in years. Pushes the envellope and doesn't mush out like most thrillers do. 5 stars
4/03/07 Monday Morning Better for humans to disappear, the way we're screwing up the planet. 2 stars
3/29/07 Luke My fave of 06 and well on it's way into my personal top movies of all time "pull my finger" 5 stars
3/28/07 action movie fan potetniaaly good, but way too avant garde-often confusing 3 stars
3/21/07 James Dunn Bleak, yes, but ultimately uplifting speculative fiction. Loved it! 5 stars
2/18/07 dmitry Good for the first hour before devolving into ridiculous schmaltz 2 stars
2/15/07 Bruce H An astounding, amazing, thinking persons movie, with a frighteningly real sequence 5 stars
2/09/07 mckrob definitely worth seeing !! 5 stars
2/05/07 Bert Kaplan lots of violence, great if you love blood and guts; a few interesting ideas 2 stars
1/26/07 kris Bitchflaps: what pretentious or derivative about it? Flap your bitch less. 5 stars
1/22/07 drtednelson the action sequences were almost good enough to make me forget that this movie had no "why" 3 stars
1/20/07 Dan F Background was the new of the world we live in - everyman/woman solidly placed at the core 5 stars
1/18/07 jcjs always nice to see Clive...excellent message which will happen if we don't straighten up... 5 stars
1/17/07 daveyt thought ending should've been darker, excellent film anyway. Will watch again for subplot 5 stars
1/15/07 Ben(jo) de Cinema An accomplishment of craft in every aspect. The ambiguity of its end is necessary to theme 4 stars
1/14/07 Tanya Excellent, full of action makes you think about the future 5 stars
1/14/07 Simon Beautifullly, stunningly, gorgeously directed. Sometimes hollow, but still impressive x10. 5 stars
1/13/07 Bitchflaps Horrendously pretentious, derivative and overlong, I almost walked out. 1 stars
1/11/07 biskitboy Masterful execution of a C-grade script. Half-baked. 4 stars
1/10/07 shaun lawton Nothing silly about it. Gripping, realistic, funny, tragic. Best futurist movie I've seen 5 stars
1/10/07 kris A marvel, should be seen in a good cinema. Saw it 3 times. 5 stars
1/09/07 del You're all just repeating one another because someone told you to. Sheep. 3 stars
1/09/07 Gerhard Maier Amazing movie that proves the genius of Cuaron. Watch it on a big screen 5 stars
1/08/07 Jill A really great story just doesn't end like that, Cuaron didn't have the guts to see it thru 3 stars
1/08/07 Todd Wallace Visionary, excellent film. Masterpiece. Politically relevant to today's war crimes. 5 stars
1/08/07 Zee Ryder See it. Then read the book and see it again. Science is dead, what's left? 5 stars
1/07/07 Christine Loved it. But cried a lot. Disgusted by the similarities to the US(what we're doing now) 5 stars
1/07/07 Jeffrey Fantastic, thought provoking and at times touching 5 stars
1/07/07 Dark Enchantress Great movie, very interesting and i could not look away 5 stars
1/07/07 Geoff Best action sequences I have ever seen in film, the theater I was in gave standing ovation 5 stars
1/06/07 Jeramie Clark Good call on the second viewing, every frame provides more depth to the story..AMAZING 5 stars
12/28/06 Tony Jovevski Magnificent, bravura film making. Best sci-fi in two decades. A privelege to sit and watc 5 stars
12/27/06 Ole Man Bourbon Pretty silly plotline, but an involving, active movie. 4 stars
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  25-Dec-2006 (R)
  DVD: 27-Mar-2007



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