Film: Children of Men
Creator: James, Cuaron
Children of Men
Politically forthright British science-fiction thriller brilliantly realised by an Argentine director.
A tough, weighty, dystopic thriller by P D James, Children of Men may have been directed by an Argentine, but it remains inescapably British. Combining the twin disasters of a sterile population bereft of children (inspired by Brian Aldiss' Greybeard?) and anarchy triggered by mass immigration (the premise of Christopher Priest's Fugue for a Darkening Island), the film is dripping with British sci-fi tradition.
What the transfer to celluloid adds is Emmanuel Lubezki's spectacularly gritty handheld photography, which results in several bravura single-take scenes that throw the viewer directly into this violent, downtrodden, hate-filled world. Chief focus of the lens is a haggard Clive Owen, who plays a petty bureaucrat caught up in a guerrilla campaign against the authorities. The downbeat tone is lifted by colourful input from Michael Caine and Peter Mullan in supporting roles.
Nonetheless, allusions to the war on terror and immigration issues, juxtaposed with a population unable to conceive, create a dense fable of the loss of hope.