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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 21.71%
Just Average: 6.2%
Pretty Crappy: 10.08%
Sucks: 7.75%

10 reviews, 69 user ratings

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Children of Men
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by Doug Bentin

"A long gestation"
4 stars

A few years ago, Asian film directors were all the rage in America. Now, there’s a trio from Mexico that is most impressive. Possibly the best known of the three is Alfonso Cuaron because of two big hits from him, “Y Tu Mama Tambien” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.” His latest is “Children of Men,” from a 1992 speculative novel by one of the detective story’s brightest lights, P.D. James.

Set 20 years in the future, the film shows us a time when women have been infertile for nearly 19 years. No one knows how it happened or why, but it has caused the social structure of all civilization to break down. Britain claims to be the only country still “soldiering on,” and some unspecified disaster has taken place in New York.

But if Britain still exists, it does so as a place that would have given George Orwell the galloping jitters. Clean up the streets and London might pass for the wrong side of the tracks in Calcutta. The production design by Jim Clay and Geoffrey Kirkland makes “A Clockwork Orange” look positively Utopian.

Clive Owen is Theo, who is grabbed off the street one day and carried to see a terrorist leader named Julian (Julianne Moore). Julian needs letters of transit—just like “Casablanca”—to allow a young woman named Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey) to travel to the coast to catch a boat that will take her to a safe place. Seems that Kee is pregnant.

The problem is that Kee is one of the “Fishes,” an undocumented alien. As such she could be rounded up by the government and imprisoned or deported—or killed—and the good citizens couldn’t care less. What everyone really fears, though, is that she and her baby would be used in some way that wouldn’t do either of them any good. Theo soon discovers that the rebels who say they want to help her escape also want to use the infant as a rallying point for their political ambitions.

The supporting cast, including Michael Caine, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Peter Mullen, and Pam Ferris is riveting. The script by Cuaron, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus, and Hawk Ostby delivers surprise after twist after shock, and Cuaron shoots episodes of street violence superbly.

One of the film’s most interesting philosophical observations is that the only acts of kindness in a world without hope of a future will come from individuals once they have come to know each other. Kindness won’t be inevitable, of course. It never is. But the suggestion that you can’t expect it from any institution, especially the government, is a little upsetting coming from a novelist who retired from a civil service job.

It’s a bleak film but one with flashes of humor, and sometimes not just of the grim variety. There are moments at which you absolutely will not know what is about to happen—just as a suspense film, the picture is a gem. But it’s also very thought-provoking, and that makes it a motion picture to be cherished.

I just hope it isn’t prophetic. It’s all over when the fat lady sings, they say, and sometimes I think I hear her running the scales.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=15254&reviewer=405
originally posted: 01/24/07 13:30:25
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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

6/23/14 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
11/18/12 Sean Harrison A great beginning and a great ending, terrible otherwise. 2 stars
10/01/10 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
4/24/09 TheGoc Dark but spectaular story of our near possible future if we continue in the wrong direction 5 stars
4/02/09 Pete Snot A technical marvel bereft of any intelligence, useful plot or characters you'd care about. 1 stars
4/02/09 Gorgon Zola A movie that makes it a point to be pointless. A partonizing script and no ending. Awful. 1 stars
1/10/09 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
10/07/08 Shaun Wallner I did'nt get it. Very Confusing. 2 stars
9/20/08 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
1/27/08 R.W.Welch Done with great expertise, tho premise is hard to buy. 4 stars
10/31/07 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
10/23/07 Clarence Anyone who gives this film less than five stars is obviously braindead. 5 stars
10/23/07 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
8/21/07 Double M Technicaly great but flat characters, uninvolving, not THAT deep; didn't make me care. 3 stars
7/07/07 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
6/26/07 rw this movie blew. not worth the money to rent it. too many unanswered questions. 1 stars
5/29/07 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
5/25/07 Dan Pointless and confused. 1 stars
5/13/07 Elisa This film sucked 1 stars
5/06/07 Indrid Cold Yet another film enormously influenced by the cinematography of Saving Private Ryan. 4 stars
5/06/07 Tracey Chambers great movie, enuff said 5 stars
5/05/07 Todd Don't let the name fool you, this movie kicks ass. 5 stars
5/05/07 AJ Muller SciFi yes, but the dramatic weight is what gives this movie its power. Astounding. 5 stars
4/28/07 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
4/16/07 Jefenator Best I've seen in years. Pushes the envellope and doesn't mush out like most thrillers do. 5 stars
4/02/07 Monday Morning Better for humans to disappear, the way we're screwing up the planet. 2 stars
3/28/07 Luke My fave of 06 and well on it's way into my personal top movies of all time "pull my finger" 5 stars
3/27/07 action movie fan potetniaaly good, but way too avant garde-often confusing 3 stars
3/20/07 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
2/08/07 mckrob definitely worth seeing !! 5 stars
2/04/07 Bert Kaplan lots of violence, great if you love blood and guts; a few interesting ideas 2 stars
1/25/07 kris Bitchflaps: what pretentious or derivative about it? Flap your bitch less. 5 stars
1/21/07 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
1/16/07 daveyt thought ending should've been darker, excellent film anyway. Will watch again for subplot 5 stars
1/14/07 Ben(jo) de Cinema An accomplishment of craft in every aspect. The ambiguity of its end is necessary to theme 4 stars
1/13/07 Tanya Excellent, full of action makes you think about the future 5 stars
1/13/07 Simon Beautifullly, stunningly, gorgeously directed. Sometimes hollow, but still impressive x10. 5 stars
1/12/07 Bitchflaps Horrendously pretentious, derivative and overlong, I almost walked out. 1 stars
1/10/07 biskitboy Masterful execution of a C-grade script. Half-baked. 4 stars
1/09/07 shaun lawton Nothing silly about it. Gripping, realistic, funny, tragic. Best futurist movie I've seen 5 stars
1/09/07 kris A marvel, should be seen in a good cinema. Saw it 3 times. 5 stars
1/08/07 del You're all just repeating one another because someone told you to. Sheep. 3 stars
1/08/07 Gerhard Maier Amazing movie that proves the genius of Cuaron. Watch it on a big screen 5 stars
1/07/07 Jill A really great story just doesn't end like that, Cuaron didn't have the guts to see it thru 3 stars
1/07/07 Todd Wallace Visionary, excellent film. Masterpiece. Politically relevant to today's war crimes. 5 stars
1/07/07 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
1/06/07 Jeffrey Fantastic, thought provoking and at times touching 5 stars
1/06/07 Dark Enchantress Great movie, very interesting and i could not look away 5 stars
1/06/07 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
12/26/06 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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