Review – Children of Men – Movie

The in-laws dropped by and took the kids for an afternoon. This was the first time Mrs Right and I have gotten away to catch a movie together in some time. It was delightful to get away and be ourselves instead of Mommy and Daddy for a while. Yes, I’m aware of the irony of that juxtaposed with the movie we saw.

The commercials and trailers call this the Blade Runner for the 21st Century. I’m going to say that, while I liked the movie well enough, I hope this century can turn out better dystopian sci-fi than Children of Men.

So, here’s the setup: in 2003 women all over the world became infertile for reasons we don’t understand. Because of this society around the world has collapsed, except in the UK. “Britain alone soldiers on” the ads say. No, don’t laugh, it’s the setup. Britain has become a police state, forcibly expelling all the refugees who have come to her to escape the ruinous rest of the world. Meanwhile, Britons may order suicide kits from the National Health Service. “Quietus – for whenever you’re ready” the ads say. This is a world without hope. There will be no next generation of kids, nothing to pass on, nothing to do but pass the time.

And people DO find ways to pass the time, either through terrorism/activism or raising new kinds of marijuana (as Michael Caine’s John Lennon-esque character does) or just going through the motions of work, as our hero Clive Owen does. Until his ex-wife, played by Julianne Moore, one of the aforementioned terrorist/activists, drags him into the new intrigue – a pregnant girl they are trying to get to some scientists for study. In a country torn between anarchy and tyranny, getting to the scientists is no small feat.

This film is brilliantly shot and has some great moments. I had a little trouble accepting the setup, but the movie worked for me. The people it did NOT work for are the ones who’ve read the book. Apparently the director, for all his talk about the importance of symbolism, managed to turn Psalm 90 into a Whitney Houston song (I believe that children are the future…). Maybe he meant that he wanted you to notice all the not-terribly-subtle anti-Bush, anti-Iraq, anti-Homeland Security posters, bumper stickers and images that lay strewn throughout the film. And apparently the Christian subtext from the novel has been stricken for the film version, though you will hear “Allahu Ackbar” and “Shanti, shanti, shanti” more than once. Not having read the book, I didn’t know to miss it.

After all, he’s depicting a world without hope. A world where YHWH isn’t known would be such a world too.

Anyhoo, not a bad watch. But I’ll be checking with The Hammer to see if I can’t score a copy of the book.

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