Saturday, March 9, 2013

Why Children of Men Does and Doesn't Work

“Children of Men” has a great premise.  In 2027, humans are infertile.  No one has been born for about twenty years.  The world is dismal, bombings everywhere, and the U.K. is one of the last functioning places on the planet.  So when Theo Faron’s ex-wife Julian Taylor persuades him to get transit papers for Kee, he receives the shock of his life – Kee is pregnant.  Now Theo has to make sure that she gets to safety.

The cinematography is dark and dreary, reflecting off the unhinged world.  The shaky camera movement adds tension.  The style of “Children of Men” can first be seen in parts of “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” where it works incredibly well because it is not overdone.  In “Children of Men,” however, there is no break from the darkness and grittiness.  It works and it doesn’t all at the same time because there is no break from it.

The long single-shot sequences work well, capturing pivotal moments in an unblinking time frame. 

The movie is long and drawn-out, which places the audience in the mindset of the people, especially Theo – there is no hope until he has something to live for (getting Kee to safety). 

Good performances by Clive Owen (Theo Faron) and Michael Caine (Jasper Palmer). 

The story itself is where the problems lie.  “Children of Men” is a simple story placed in a complex environment.   I wanted to watch a complex story in that complex environment.  Theo passively lives his life until he actively works to save someone else.  This is a wonderful transformation and the saving grace of the storyline.  The other characters’ interactions are discombobulated and don’t seem to fit in Theo’s life.  Which is why he’s thrown into a new world and the other characters are so different.

How the movie is made makes sense and it works, but I wanted more from it.

What did you think of "Children of Men?"

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