Even with three Oscar nominations, Children of Men was the most overlooked film of 2006. With Alfonso Cuar³n directing and Emmanuel Lubezki behind the camera, this film was both a technical masterpiece and a thought provoking thriller.
Theo Faron (Clive Owen) is convinced that the end of the world has come. Not only has the human race become incapable of reproducing, the world has long lost a reason for why one would want to have children. All hope for a future has been lost, so those living within the present have raped the planet for what it is worth. Government is in shambles, the medical community is clueless and the world’s youngest person has just died. The year is 2027 and Theo has just been handed responsibility for mankind’s last hope.
I know you might think that the “reluctant to save the world” hero thing is horribly clich©, and in most instances you’d be utterly correct. Children of Men is anything but clich©. As if following an avant-garde handbook, Alfonso Cuar³n’s vision plays out like an Aldoux Huxley dream inspired by a Pink Floyd album. The phrase “set in the year 2027” alone conjures up the assumption that a moviegoer might expect to see flying cars or a shiny toy milieu that we would like to call “future.” Simplistic and visionary, the environment created by Cuar³n is unconventional in the way that it doesn’t quite fit the model Utopian or Post-Apocalyptic depictions of the future that we have come to know in cinema past. Seeing is believing, and seeing this lucid representation of our future is both frightening and inspiring.
The camera work is revolutionary. Emmanuel Lubezki’s work in this film was a landmark in cinema, and the fact that he did not win an Oscar is an incredible injustice. Without knowing what to look for as a characteristic in great cinematography, pay specific attention to the length of each take. Meticulously choreographed and perfectly executed, the most dangerous scenes in the film seem to last for minutes at a time without switching camera angles. The technical aspects of this film can only be described with one overpowering word: Flawless.
Children of Men can be called a political statement, a cautionary tale or even a science fiction fantasy. I would call it one of the best films of the decade.