Posted by: GeekHiker | May 6, 2007

Movie Night

“Children of Men” is one of those films that is both shocking and sneaks up on you at the same time.  Fair warning: it is violent, realistically so, and may just depress the hell out of you, but it does make you think, so by all means rent it.

At it’s core, “Children of Men” is science fiction, but even if you don’t like sci-fi, don’t avoid this film for simply that reason.  The concept is deceptively simple: it’s the year 2027, women are infertile, and humanity is in the process of slowly dying out.

What’s shocking, in addition to the violence, is that this isn’t the future of Blade Runner, and it sure as hell isn’t Star Trek.  No, this future is familiar, gritty, real.  It’s a recognizable environment, it doesn’t scream “it’s the future!”.  Instead, the differences are slight, such as animated billboards on the sides of buses; it’s not something that exists now, but none of us would be particularly surprised if we saw it tomorrow.

This helps the film’s philosophy to sneak up on you: since you recognize the world as being a darker, but familiar, version of our own, you’re swept into the story and into the possibility of this bleak future coming to pass.  Especially when you see scenes of the reaction of the government to illegal immigrants, or fleeting glimpses of signs reading “homeland security” that pass through frame.

In addition to the fantastically subtle production design, the cinematography also deserves praise.  Long takes, often handheld, lend the film a mini-dv documentary feel.  It all blends into a film that will have a stronger effect on you that you may originally think.

Ultimately the film is a philosophical one, presenting a dark possible future, and the reaction of humankind to it (and I can’t say it’s a positive one).  The extras on the DVD are interesting as well, though the one with comments by various philosophers can be a downer: 25 minutes of “the world is going to hell in a handbasket” due to overpopulation, the global economy, global warming, etc., followed by 2 minutes of “well, don’t give up hope!”  Uh, yeah…


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