Science fiction and fantasy
Children of Men
directed by Alfonso Cuaron
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.
If you like this, try:Reign of Fire by Rob Bowman
A 20th century dragon movie.
The Road by John Hillcoat
A father and son search for food and hope for a better life as they travel through a barren, post-apocalyptic wasteland.
The Killing Moon by Rod Glenn
In post-apocalyptic northern England the future of civilisation hangs in the balance.
Review © Ros Jackson
More about Alfonso Cuaron