By Fred Topel | Images property of Universal Pictures.
Children of Men
of Men is an amazing work of cinema. The story may be familiar
sci-fi but the filmmaking itself is so fascinating, I just wanted to watch
more and more of this unfold.
Movie Review: Children of Men
20 years in the future, women can no longer conceive so the human race is
dying. Terrorism plagues Britain, the last bastion of civilization, while
Theo (Clive Owen) sleepwalks through his remaining days. When an old girlfriend
gets him involved in an illegal immigration, he discovers a miracle pregnancy.
Now he must protect Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey) from opposing forces to preserve
hope for our survival.
Okay, apocalypse is nothing new, and infertility has been dealt with in
everything from Waterworld to Hell Comes to Frogtown.
The immigration issue has obvious political undertones today and all of
that is a cool metaphor, but that’s not what makes Children
of Men so enthralling.
Children of Men is so exciting because its action scenes
unfold in single takes. Theo and Kee escape from various captors without
ever cutting to a point of view or reaction shot. The camera just hangs
with them, in pretty impossible filming conditions, and it’s real
panic because you just don’t know what else can happen with the limitations
of such photography.
An attack on a car looks like Mad Max
with no cuts. The car drives with terrorists bombarding it, hanging on or
driving alongside, while the camera swivels around each passenger. You can’t
help thinking, “Where on earth did they put the camera in that little
car?” but it doesn’t distract you from seeing all the chaos
they fit into several minutes of running film.
This is real movie magic. We may not think about all the tricks while we’re
enjoying a movie, but we know they can create anything in CGI, make anything
happen with tricky editing and the like. To actually take that out of an
equation may not be obvious to everyone, but it registers.
When the film is in exposition mode, it actually makes one wish they would
still keep out the cutaways. Seeing a reaction or a point of view is not
as important as maintaining this cinematic vision. It is also in these exposition
scenes that the film feels more standard. Yeah, it’s a war zone and
we have to get the miracle to safety. Blah, blah, blah.
Scenes of the atrocities in the future are points well taken about what’s
already happened in our history or present. Classy satirical digs at prescription
drugs are a more realistic take on the Robocop media future.
But it’s really the one-take action that keeps Children of