Friday, 20 July 2007

Children Of Men - Dir. Alfonso Cuarón (2006)

I had high hopes going into a screening of this film after seeing the trailer on the television and I wasn't disappointed.

The story is simple, the scenery is beautiful and the direction is executed perfectly.

The whole world has gone infertile and mankind is on the brink of extinction, but one lone pregnant woman holds the key to the world's problem, in her young belly. 'Theo' (Clive Owen) is dragged into the 'mission' by his ex-wife Julianne Moore and must battle enemies from both sides of the fence if 'Kee' (Claire-Hope Ashitey) is to give birth to the first child in 18 years.

Alfonso Cuarón directs this film beautifully, at times it felt as if I was watching the cinematic beauty of nature evolve from heaven to the hellish land of industrialism as every detail, angle and shot was done down to a tee. Instead of opting for a 'Hollywood' stance or trying something new/inventive, Cuarón uses the surroundings and the people he works with instead to the visual beauty of a film which must be an Oscar contender. He also created a beautiful, yet believable futuristic vision of the world marred by immigration problems and more enclosed-topia than utopia.

Clive Owen has given the Oscar selectors a little prod in the back with a magnificent performance in this film, he plays 'Theo', a depressed worker of society who is horrified by the violence he witnesses day and day out, yet his character transforms throughout the film leading to a newer, more refreshed 'Theo' who has taken over from Julianne Moore (Julian) as the lead protagonist in the film. He is also backed up with some superb supporting acting from Julianne Moore (Julian), Michael Caine (Jasper) as the laid-back futuristic 'hippy' of the modern world and Claire-Hope Ashitey (Kee), a young actress who has taken to such a large role with so much professionalism and enthusiasm that you think she'd been acting for years.

The film itself contains a large amount of action and aggression as it shows the repression of immigrants looking for new life in Britain and the way the masses are dealt with reminds the viewer of totalitarian regimes such as Hitler's Germany and Stalin's Russia, however the action is portrayed brilliant, at times with just the sound of rapid gun fire in the background to intimidate and give the viewer a sense and perspective of the location in which the characters currently stand. The 'Coup D'Etat' scene shows the masses rising up against the elitist minority and gives the viewer a large sense of satisfaction; however this is culled quite quickly with the bleak and up-close killing taking place of those who are both guilty and innocent.

I went into this film with high expectations and came out wondering what would challenge it for the 'Best Oscar' gong next year. Alfonso Cuaron's directing is hard-hitting, beautiful, bleak and brilliant. Clive Owen steals the show with his emotional rise to the protagonist of the world and the supporting actors just build upon his performance and the film as a whole.

Definitely one of the films of 2006.

By Jordan