Director: Alfonso Cuaron
Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki
Writers: Alfonso Cuaron, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus, Hawk Otsby
Stars: Clive Owens, Michael Caine, Julianne Moore
Children of Men is a spectacle film. The direction from Cuaron is not all that interested in the narrative, and it plays more as an action film with some of Emmanuel Lubezki’s best work during those extended tracking shots. However, the premise and world building made this film quite a memorable experience.
Set in a dystopian, decaying world in which women are infertile and the government is anti-immigrant to the point of extermination. The premise, as I noted, is rather brilliant. The whole idea behind the film is a world of women not able to get pregnant which forces drastic measures on the surviving members of the world.
Coupled with Lubezki’s gorgeous cinematography style that captures the intensity and adrenaline of each situation, the world building is one of the high-points. The problems of the film bleed more into characterization and a slightly underwhelming script. It’s hard to fault the writing with Cuaron’s vision for the film is more focused on heart-pounding sequences, but some scenes had tacked on emotion that felt incomplete.
Even though the writing leaves some to be desired, the film does bring out two dynamite performances from Clive Owen (Theo Faron) and Michael Cain (Jasper) in a smaller but meaty role. Julianne Moore is great too, but her character takes a sharp exit. Overall, it was a good cast of actors, but the acting was a runaway physical acting. It was almost entirely a visual experience, as all the character and world developments were done outside of simple dialogue. The set designs provided plenty of detail about the story through the newspaper clippings plastered on the walls, or a TV station breaking news, Cuaron found different ways to navigate around the shallow script.
It’s certainly a well-made film and has an excellent and intriguing idea behind the story, but it’s no cinematic masterpiece because the narrative is too basic. The plot moves as a linear video game story, and never takes a break to explain itself. While it’s an enjoyable experience, it’s not quite on the level of the great science fiction films, but definitely worth a watch for the action sequences and ultra-detailed set designs