Children of Men (2006)


Tagline: “In 20 Years, Women Are Infertile, No Children, No Future, No Hope. But All That Can Change. In A Heartbeat.” With a picture of a foetus. May as well just say “THERE ARE NO BABIES! HELP! OH MY GOD THERE'S A PREGNANT WOMAN! YAY!”

Premise: THERE ARE NO BABIES! YOU CAN TELL THIS BECAUSE CLIVE OWEN LOOKS REALLY DOUR AND SAD AND NEVER SMILES! What's that? He looks like that in every film? Oh OK. Err. Children of Men is set in near future Britain that is, for want of a better portmanteau, a clusterfuck. Which is actually probably just Wednesday night now nobody can have kids. Spray it where you want, doesn't matter anymore. Bukkake Britain*.

Execution: Children of Men is, for all my flippancy in the opening two categories of this review- which I can't promise I'll stop, an excellent film that has not only grown on me, but grown more relevant each time I've watched it. I know I'm all of the sometimes critical of people reading into films too much but given the Brexit vote, the poor rich divide, public services evisceration, internal radicals becoming more of a threat to safety of the public... The list goes on. Watching Clive Owen's dumbfounded mush blithely meandering through it all felt apt. Even if that is the face he uses in every film, including the ones when he's supposed to be charismatic.

It is a grim and entirely believable future Children of Men portrays, a world without children, where instead of trying to solve its problems humanity has turned in on itself. A future which even as I type this I see more and more in that convinces me of its prescience. It was also, one for the real geeks, the last film Alfonso Cuaron directed with a plot. So there's something. He's an excellent director who frustrates me with his inertia. And then by making Gravity which was essentially an SFX showreel with two A-Listers in it.

I know first hand that the film makers pushed very hard to have Children of Men made as harsh as the studios behind it would allow, to stay close to the source material, P. D. James's novel by the same name. It is a fight which I have a lot of time for, and it paid off here.

Bedsit it? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. Even if you hate Clive Owen (I actually don't that was all for effect. What has he been in lately by the way? Oh yes, this.) Children of Men will cut through that. I love a bleak film and so for me, the more bleak it gets as our little island decimates itself from within, my rating goes up. 9/10 (first viewing a 7 I think)

*Interestingly if you google bukkake with the safe search on, which I did purely for research you understand, there is a noodle dish called bukkake udon (salty!) and a game called bukkake. The game may or may not involve a digestive biscuit, I didn't investigate further. Once bitten.

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