The Human Cultural Bloody Footprint: 'Children of Men' Review
Few things cause more peace than the presence of children. Obviously, I don't mean peace understood as silence and tranquility, but as the state in which adults, those who supposedly manage the world, are not openly violent and mean. A child represents innocence and an empty vessel that is constantly filling with influences. That's why, the vast majority of times, adults stop doing adult things when a child is present.
Alfonso Cuaron's Children of Men imagines the year 2027 where, after 18 years of global infertility, the human species is collapsing and on the verge of extinction. The youngest people in the world, now little celebrities, are now of legal adults. Childhood has died.
The United Kingdom has become a repressive police state that deals with the massive migratory movements—that have escalated in recent years—in the worst way.
Theo (Clive Owen) is a former activist who, after the death of his son by pandemic flu, abandoned the good fight and now earns his living as a bureaucrat. It's clear from the start that Theo represents the impact of the hope-cynicism dichotomy on humanity. The Fishes, a radical group of militants in favor of immigrant rights led by Julian (Julianne Moore), Theo's ex-wife, kidnap him.
Theo has a cousin in the government who can guarantee transit papers for a young refugee named Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey), which is why the Fishes offer Theo a sum of money to activate that plan. The big revelation is that Kee is the first pregnant woman in 18 years. The Fishes want to keep her incognito so she can safely reach the Human Project, a scientific group in the Azores dedicated to curing infertility.
Of course, Theo's journey will slowly stop being about money to concentrate on a full-scale odyssey to save the human race from extinction.
What's Your Rating for Children of Men?
With this intriguing story, Cuaron designed Children of Men as a chaotic testament to the understandable obsession of the human species to preserve its culture. With thousands of artistic, religious, political, and philosophical references, Cuarón elevates this good sci-fi story to an absolute cinematic masterpiece.
This is a film that references fiction and reality crosswise at the same time, in an admirable exercise of narrative condensation. The image of a refugee being tortured by police forces immediately evokes Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, but it's also the evocation of crucification imagery, under which our modern Joseph and Maria flee from repressive power.
The image of an inconsolable woman with her baby's dead body in her arms is at the same time a reference to the iconic photograph of the woman in The Balkans and the sculpture La Pieta, by Michelangelo. In the office of the Ark of the Arts, where works of Michelangelo, Picasso, and Banksy coexist, the view shows a complex of factories to which they have placed a giant balloon in the shape of a pig, creating in that reality Pink Floyd's Animals album cover.
With stellar performances, a masterful direction, and several memorable single-shot sequences, Children of Men is one of the best film stories about the long, bloody, and chaotic road of humanity in the quest to leave its mark. A path that, paradoxically, has taken humanity away from peace and has brought it closer to extinction.
Title: Children of Men
Release Year: 2006
Director(s): Alfonso Cuarón
Actors: Michael Caine, Julianne Moore, Clive Owen, Chiwetel Ejiofor a.o.