I wonder how I missed this movie on the big screen! Alfonso Cuaron's 'Children of Men' had me completely spellbound, just as Alejandro González Iñárritu's, "Babel" and Guilermo del Toro's, "Pan's Labyrinth" did. Might just be a coincidence, but three of the best movies I've seen this last year have come from artists of Mexican origin. What's even stranger is that the three have plans of making a movie together!
Alfonso Cuaron's "Children of Men" presents a dystopia, Britain in the year 2027, mourning the death of its youngest citizen, an eighteen year old! The world's womb has been barren for the last eighteen years, and humanity is watching itself edge toward its extinction. Excessive pollution has resulted in infertility across the globe and man is left without an heir to home the earth. How then does he go about his business of living as the most intelligent species on the planet; one that knows how to survive despite all odds!
Alfonso Cuaron's Britain also suffers from another serious malady, a seriously fragmented population comprising of the government supporters, the rebels, the activists, and the refugees; a majority of who are living in subhuman conditions amid horrific violence, some in refugee camps that bring an Abu Gharaib and a Guantanamo Bay to mind. The country is flooded by immigrants who have now become targets of a government that wants them out.
This dual hell, is in fact Alfonso Cuaron's dystopia, one that is dangling between an assured apocalypse and a dormant and dubious hope. The nightmare for the refugees is relentless, as is the curse of infertility, but somehow fledgling faith forages and finds anchor in the refugee Kee's womb. Apparently, there is still some hope for humanity! Does Cuarno make good of it, or does he make heavy the blanket of gloom that lies heavy on a people lacking the will to live?
The movie is based on P. D. James novel of the same name published in 1992. I haven't read the novel, but Cuarno's movie makes me want to read it. Clive Owen as a reawakened activist is impressive, as is Kee playing the pregnant refugee. The plot and the setting, though futuristic, could as well have a current day existence. It is the plausibility of its situation that makes "Children of Men " so terrifying and a must-see. A dystopia no doubt, yet, Cuarno leaves the audience hopeful with a silhouette of "The Human Project" emerging on the horizon. What will we make of this fledgling hope? That is the question that Cuarno wants the audience to carry out of the theater, and so I did!