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Wow.

Just wow.

Children of Men is most likely the best film of 2006. Harrowing, Challenging, Satirical, Touching, Brutal – this film was just absolutely stunning to watch.

Most of all, this is a movie that doesn’t fail to elicit some emotional response.

Set in Britain in the year 2027, we find the world on the brink of collapse. Something has made all the women in the world infertile. No children have been born for 18 years, and humanity is caught in the grip of despair. Paranoia and violence is rife, and Britain – one of the few surviving points of civilisation in the world (and this is a very loose use of civilisation at times…) has become an island fortress – immigrants being shipped off to refugee camps that are like a cross between Abu Graib and New York from Escape from New York.

Theo Furon, played beautifully understated by Clive Owen, is an everyman Briton who finds himself caught up in the politics of a anti-government organisation called The Fishers, thanks to his ex-wife Julian. (Played by Julianne Moore.)

He soon discovers that the Fishers have in their care a young refugee who happens to miraculously be the first pregnant woman in 18 years. He agrees to help them get her into the care of a mysterious faction known as The Human Project – a group who is somehow trying to save humanity.

The events that follow are filmed in an almost documentary manner, with many long takes that just keep running for the length of the action – giving the film a truly unrelenting feeling.

However where many other such movies like 28 Days Later and 1984 just hammered the bleakness home, Alfonso Curon manages to inject a real sense of humanity into the movie. The characters are human and try to make the best of their situation. They joke, they cry – we see these people as real, injecting subtle humour into even the most desperate moments.

This is, to me, the movie’s greatest strength. That the idea of hope is not explicitly spoken about all the time, but rather shown to us through the character’s and how they react to the events around them. Despite the despair and horror, there is hope that maybe things can work out. Ironically this also leaves the movie open to interpretation. Some people will see the hopeful and just assume that things will lead to a soppy ending. Others will see only bleakness.

To me the film was painfully realistic. It has almost surreal moments that then get crushed by the reality of the situation.

Some have criticised how much is left unexplained in the movie – but I felt that this ambiguity is what makes the movie so realistic. In real life we don’t have all the answers. It is implausible that a working class guy would happen to know the exact reasons why all the women in the world went infertile; or if the government is truly working against the people or not.

None of that is really the point of this movie. What it is about is the people in the story. What they decide and where it leads them.

I could just rave on and on about this film. But rather than do that – and inadvertantly spoil it – I will simply say you must see this movie. It is the best film of the year. No doubt about it.

Love and Huggles

Conan

Currently Reading: Iron Kingdoms: Liber Mechanika; Ptolus
Currently Playing: Exalted: The Seventh Legion
Mood: Impressed by this film!

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November 2006
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