Children of Men
Should we be worried no one else is on this bus?


Golden Mug

WINNER:
Picture

NOMINEE:
Director (Alfonso Cuaron)
Supporting Actor (Michael Caine)
Supporting Actress (Claire-Hope Ashitey)
Adapted Screenplay (Alfonso Cuaron, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby-screenplay, P.D. James-novel)
Cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki)
Film Editing (Alfonso Cuaron & Alex Rodriguez)
Art Direction (Ray Chan, Paul Inglis, Stuart Rose, Mike Stallion)

Theatrical Release Date: 09/22/2006 (UK), 12/25/2006 (USA)
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Cast: Clive Owen, Claire-Hope Ashitey, Julianne Moore, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Caine

Based on the P.D. James novel of the same name, “Children of Men” is a dystopian view of the future, specifically in England, as the world has devolved into madness and for some unknown reason, humans aren’t able to procreate anymore.

This set of circumstances creates a harrowing look into what drives people and the depths to which we as a race are capable of.

In the film, one woman (Ashitey) has mysteriously become pregnant and in order to assure her safety, and to hopefully allow for scientists to figure out how it happened, a small rebel faction group (led by Moore’s character) has devised a plan of escape from England to a supposed group of scientists baring the title of The Human Project.

Of course, everything doesn’t go quite to plan and the majority of the film is a tense ride as the audience is brought along with the characters, trying desperately to find safety and solace.

That’s a mouthful. Okay, plot aside, let’s get to the meat of the matter.

Everything in the film is done top notch. From production value to score to costumes to acting to directing to editing to writing, everything is superb.

What makes “Children of Men” so fantastic is how natural the film feels. Events unfold as if you were there. There isn’t a buildup of the score or a camera panning in a direction to highlight what you should be focusing on.

Things just happen. You’re either paying attention or you’re not. Just like life.

And things aren’t explained six times just to make sure the audience gets it. If you aren’t able to keep up, you’ll get left behind. While some people may want their films sugar coated for them, this is definitely for the crowd that actually did well in high school. Bring your thinking caps, it’s a good thing.

Also, Cuarón did a wonderful job of having the camera be right alongside the actors, allowing the audience to feel like they were right there with them. He also used a number of camera shots done in one take, creating an even eerier sense that what you were watching was happening right then and there.

Masterful direction notwithstanding, it is the actors who make us believe. Everyone in the cast, from top to bottom, gives convincing performances devoid of any artifice. Leaving the film, I was relieved to find that I still lived in a somewhat free state.

To that end, the big brother mentality that dominates the futuristic England is gorgeously framed within the context of the film. Places and objects felt just odd enough to be futuristic but not so strange as to seem unbelievable. The mindset of the people is one of blind obedience to the system that has sprung up in the midst of all the world chaos.

Getting away from the literal elements on screen, what makes “Children of Men” stand out so much is that it creates discussion.

The “1984”-esque world that is presented is one we all hope doesn’t come to pass but as more and more civil liberties are removed in the name of safety, how far are we from that time really?

Also, the diabolical nature of people as they try to eek out a living for themselves is on display in the film and it isn’t a pretty picture.

And perhaps most relevant is that in the film, there is worldwide chaos stemming from extremist violence. As America and her allies continue to wage war on “terror”, this film hits very close to home and depicts an end result no one wants to see happen in real life.

“Children of Men” is provocative, intelligent and gripping. I don’t think there was a better film in 2006, having weighed all of its elements together. Any one who considers themselves a film buff should run, not walk, to the nearest theater and see this film.

If you can’t, hop on that Information Superroadway thing and order it up. This is a film you simply shouldn’t miss.