Children of Men

I finally watched "Children of Men" last weekend. I actually missed in when it was playing in the theaters (or they never showed it here at all), so I took a calculated risk and bought the DVD when I saw it for sale. And I wasn't disappointed.

It's a good sign when you read the comments in IMDB, and you have bunch of people telling how the movie is "racist", while you also have a bunch of people telling how the movie is "left-wing propaganda that glorifies immigrants". The movie obviously evokes strong emotions in viewers, and that's a good sign. And looking at the ratings it has received (currently 8.2/10 in IMDB), most people like it. No, the movie is not racist. It just depicts a society that suffers from xenophobia, but that does not mean that the movie itself suffers from it.

The movie is set in to near future when women have stopped having children. Last child was born 18 years ago, and mankind is slowly moving towards extinction. Most of the world has descended in to anarchy, while the remains of civilized society try to hang on. And the "civilized society" isn't really that civilized anymore.

While the world is coming to an end, it isn't going away with a bang, it's fading away. People still go to work, they still buy their coffee from coffee-shops, they still watch their news. And still, there's the constant feeling that mankind is doomed. None of the individuals are doomed as such: there is no nuclear war that is going to wipe them out, there is no disease that is going to kill them, nor are they waiting for radioactive cloud to kill them all. There's just a bunch of people living out their lives, with full knowledge that after they are dead, there will not be others to take their place. It's a society of silent (occasionally not so silent) resignation.

Actors do a good job thorough the movie. There's no poor performance to be seen, and Clive Owen does a solid job at the lead. So the story is interesting, and the actors are good. That gives a good foundation to build a great movie. And this movie delivers.

There's one thing in the movie that is truly superb: cinematography. The scenes are long and jaw-droppingly outstanding. And I'm not talking of scenes with just dialogue, I'm talking about action-packed scenes as well. They seem to go on and on. No, they do not drag on, which would be bad, they flow naturally. I'm not sure how they did it. Maybe they somehow digitally stitched several scenes together, and if they did, they did a superb job at it. If they really just shot long cuts, it is a real testament to the skill of the actors and director. Either way, the end result is simply stunning.

The filmmakers also did a great job at creating the remnants of human civilization. I don't think I ever saw any bright colors anywhere. Everything is muted and gloomy.

"Children of Men" does not suffer from the curse of Hollywood, where everything is explained to the viewer. We are given bit and pieces of the backstory, but things are not explained in detail. The ending is open, and it's up to the viewer to determine what happens next. In short: it forces the viewer to think. And that's always a Good Thing (tm).

A damned fine movie if you ask me!

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