Science fiction and fantasy                                            

Children of Men

directed by Alfonso Cuaron

Children Of Men poster  
It's London in 2027, and humanity has suffered over 18 years of inexplicable infertility. The scene is set with news of a young man's death, a man who at 18 was famous for being the youngest person in the world.

In the face of imminent extinction, mankind has utterly failed to pull together to find a solution. Instead people have reverted to a state of anxiety and growing civil unrest. Britain is flooded with illegal immigrants, who are hunted and rounded up into cages and internment camps. The country has become a police state, with immigrants as the chief victims of its brutality.

Although this story is supposed to be set in the future, there is absolutely nothing futuristic about the setting. It's a world in which no progress has been made, and where buildings and cities have been left to crumble and fall into ruin. Don't look here for any dazzling technology or whizzy special effects: the whole impression is of a very low budget movie, where the bleakness of poverty is a constant visual theme.

The action centres around Theo, a man who starts out on the right side of the barriers. He is contacted by his ex-wife Julian, who is now a leading political activist wanted by the authorities. She wants him to help her to smuggle an illegal immigrant out of the country, to the Human Project. Julian is passionate about fighting for equal rights for immigrants, but the odds are stacked against them. It's clear that there are people who will behave as though the lives of immigrants are worth nothing.

Children of Men is bloody, grim, and depressing in the extreme. In the countryside, smoke rises from fields of dead cattle, whilst the towns and cities resemble concentration camps or war zones. There is an all-pervasive air of despair throughout this movie. So although the story is thought-provoking and the plot does not drag, it's actually very difficult to watch. The message is clear: without children there can be no hope. You might imagine that people would hold life dearer when humanity is at risk of extinction, but in this film people are at each other's throats over the most trivial things.

The presence of Michael Caine as the eccentric old Jasper barely serves to lighten the mood. This high-body-count movie may provoke your interest, but it won't cheer you up.

Film Details

Year: 2006

Categories: Films

  Science fiction

Classification: 15

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3 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson
More about Alfonso Cuaron