Saturday, 20 June 2009

Alfonso Cuarón's Children Of Men.

" The last one to die please turn out the light."

Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón of Y tu mamá también (2001) fame loosely adapted this excellent 2006 dystopian sci-fi drama from P. D. James's 1992 novel of the same name. Set in the year 2027, it stars Clive Owen as Theo Faron, a former activist who reluctantly undertook the role of a savior who must find a safe transit point to a female refugee ( Clare-Hope Ashitey) who is pregnant after no human children have been born globally for more than eighteen years. No explanation is given as to why the women suddenly become infertile. The world governments and nations are mired in total chaos as a result of this (as shown in news clip at the beginning, including one of this country which shows Muslim extremist taking over and the Petronas Twin Towers on fire). Britain is possibly the only nation still in control but with the refugees pouring in from all over the world, it has turned into a military fascist state. Refugees are captured and placed in deplorable detention camps and cages. It is a very terrible place to be in. Public places are randomly bombed on daily basis by terrorists. An atmosphere of depression hung over the populations, knowing that mankind would eventually be extinct. What is the meaning of hope if there is not a single child around? But all that about to change. Also starring Julianne Moore as Julian Taylor, a political activist and leader of the militant "Fishes" group, as well as Faron's ex-wife and mother to their deceased child. Taylor knows Faron would be the only one to be trusted with Kee's safety and ensure she reaches "The Tomorrow" (a ship which houses a team of scientists involved in "The Human Project" to cure infertility). Michael Caine as Jasper Palmer, Theo's friend, a retired editorial cartoonist and weeds smoking neo-hippie. Palmer helped Faron to enter Bexhill Detention Camp in order for them to reach the ship but when the Fishes arrived, he knows his end is near and refused to reveal their where about resulting in his death at their hands. Chiwetel Ejiofor (whom I first saw in Kinky Boots~2005) as Luke, the replacement leader of Fishes after engineering Taylor's death with the intention to use Kee and her baby for political ransoming. Luke is eventually killed during the battle with the British Army at Bexhill Detention Camp, Pam Ferris as Miriam, the new age nurse taking care of Kee's health. She sacrificed herself by pretending to be suffering from a religious mania to prevent a suspicious guard from inspecting Kee who had contraction at that time and Oana Pellea as Marichka, a Romanian woman with a dog who provides Theo and Kee a place to stay at Bexhill. When Faron and Kee is betrayed by one of the contacts, Marichka provided a small boat for them to escape to the sea, shortly before the British fighter planes bomb Bexhill.
One of the highlights of this film is that not much information are revealed. Most of the clues are given on the visual background which I think heighten the attractiveness of the storyline. There are numerous subtle references to religion and the theme of hope and faith. The dystopian visual is beautifully rendered with not too much overwhelming techno machinery, just nice for me to concentrate on the characters and plots. London is depicted as curiously contemporary yet futuristic. The most effective visual is the part whereby spliced, individual shots are done to make it looks like a continuous, single shot movement. The film is also done in hand held like documentary style sequence but yet remain coherent, unlike pure hand held shot movies like Cloverfield which left my head spinning for hours. The Bexhill battle scene is one of the most intense action sequence I have seen (another is Saving Private Ryan's opening sequence). I would rank this movie up there with classics like Blade Runner. It is that good, personally.

No comments: