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242 of 276 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's The End Of the World As I Know It--But Maybe Not..., March 6, 2007
This review is from: Children of Men (DVD)
"Children of Men," by Mexican director Alfonso Cuaron, was one of the more unusual success stories of 2006. While not a blockbuster, by any standards, this unconventional film was all but abandoned by a studio that didn't know how to market it. Positioned for release during prime Oscar season, this is not a film that was backed as a potential nominee. However, as almost universal critical acceptance came rolling in--a smaller, but loyal, fan base discovered and embraced this movie. "Children of Men" ended up, therefore, with much acclaim and admiration, decent box office, a more widespread distribution, and 3 Academy Award nominations (Screenplay, Editing, and Cinematography).

In an interesting twist on the apocalypse drama genre, "Children of Men" presents a world that is coming to an end with a whimper as opposed to a bang. For there is no cataclysmic explosion forcing humanity to confront it's own mortality. No, in this case, people have simply lost the ability to reproduce--and the youngest person alive is now approaching adulthood. Of course, over the ensuing years (the film is set in 2027) of this ongoing tragedy, there has been an expected societal breakdown. Now, the streets of London are ravaged by terrorism and extremist groups are battling to overturn the complacent, and possibly complicit, government. While this may seem like a broad and epic canvas, "Children of Men" covers many weighty issues within the relatively straightforward story of its protagonist, Clive Owen. Owen, an ex-activist who is now somewhat disconnected, is drawn back into a world that he wants no part of. The unlikeliest and most reluctant of heroes, Owen confronts his own ideology and apathy when an extremist group introduces him to a pregnant teen. Fearing that she will be exploited, used, or otherwise politically manipulated by the warring factions--he decides to deliver her to a utopian (and perhaps mythical) society whose only interest is in saving humanity. Getting her free from the controlling clutches that bind her and crossing a country plagued by insurrection, "Children of Men" becomes a harrowing and brutal action picture with violence that resembles much of what we see on TV news today.

Owen has long been a favorite of mine. Having taken notice of him in "Croupier" (and if you haven't caught this great noir piece, please do), I have been quite impressed by his rise in mainstream films. He was so electrifying in "Closer" that I even forgave him for "Derailed." Here, he is the perfect antihero--and his evolution from a disinterested party to a rogue patriot is an indelible portrait of a man rediscovering a purpose and meaning in life. Julianne Moore, Michael Caine, and Clare-Hope Ashitey (as the pregnant team) lead an able supporting cast. The documentary feel of the film's action pieces suit the material well, and the conflicts are well staged and all too believable.

Now, there are many political debates to be started from "Children of Men" (none of which will I engage in here), but what I admired about the film's screenplay is how focused it is. Without being preachy or engaging in unnecessary "speechifying," this film plays as straight action. And while there is a "revelatory" moment near the end that almost goes too far (but is understandable within the context of the film), "Children of Men" allows you to draw your own conclusions. It just presents the story and leaves much of its interpretation up to the viewer. That, to me, is always a satisfying choice. Whether you view this film as action, sci-fi, political allegory, or a combination of all three--it's a worthwhile and entertaining film. KGHarris, 03/07.
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 9, 2007 4:45:06 PM PST
You're right on the mark with this film, though in many ways I think Clive Owen is the film. He brings such realism to each character that he protrays that it immediately pulls into whatever movie you're watching. He is what makes Children of Men so good. Now, what's this about you forgiving him for doing Derailed????? I thought that was a very good film, though I'm in the minority. He did a wonderful job of protraying a man who being extorted with nowhere to turn to for help. Jennifer Aniston actually looked rather sexy for once with her black hose and heels. Don't say it! LOL.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2007 9:49:47 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 19, 2011 4:16:46 PM PDT]

Posted on Apr 7, 2007 10:55:27 PM PDT
Jeremy P says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on May 25, 2007 5:40:51 PM PDT
I absolutely agree with your succint assessment! The fact that the film did not degrade into a morality tale was, I think, a hallmark of great science fiction work. And Clive Owen ALWAYS manages to pull me in, even with unsympathetic characters (though Theo was surely not among the unsympathetic)!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 24, 2007 4:21:19 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 24, 2007 4:24:33 PM PDT
Let's not forget other great performances. If it wasn't for Michael Caine's character, the compulsion for Theo to play his part to the end would have rung false. Both he and Pam Ferris played crucial roles, (and I'm not talking about their characters now), in acting as a sort of latter-day Greek Chorus, where they fed us the necessary information--and, credit their experience and craftsmanship, didn't bring the movie to a screeching halt while doing so.

Especially poignant was Ferris' story of how her job as an OB/GYN nurse became obsolete. The characters of Syd and Marichka were played with fine detail, and having Kee, the mother, as some loud, vulgar punkette, instead of a classical madonna-type kept the theme from going into King Arthur/Star Wars territory.

Speaking of madonnae...Of the non-credited "cast", the mother at Bexhill who was weeping and holding the body of her son in a Pieta tableau, was one of the many powerful images in this film.

Oh yeah...Clive Owen did some of the best work he's ever done. Who else could pull off saving the future of mankind while wearing flip flops?

Posted on Oct 19, 2007 7:21:13 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 30, 2008 4:47:48 PM PDT]

Posted on Oct 31, 2007 8:31:53 PM PDT
Yeah I agree. If Clive Owen is in it, then I am going to go see it, but Derailed wasn't that good of a film though. Great review.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 17, 2010 6:57:23 AM PST
Soulflower says:
I know you are long gone, but...Thank you so much for mentioning the other cast members...I felt that is what was lacking in the other reviews. Clive was good, but not his best in my opinion...but Julianne Moore, Pam Ferris, Michael Caine, and Chiwetel Ejiofor and others were outstanding.

By the way, the girl as "loud, vulgar punkette" is the one problem I had with the whole story. This is the stereotype of Black women and her role exemplified it.

What is even more hurtful is that the actress playing Kee is nothing like her character at all.

She didn't have to be a "Madonna", Mary at the Cross type but she didn't have to be so ridiculous either.

Posted on Sep 1, 2011 4:07:45 AM PDT
M.M.M. says:
4 Stars?

I dared myself to look at some of these reviews. Like part of my soul dying for a few seconds. Sinking feeling..
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