I don’t have time to tell a story about the circumstances surrounding my viewing of Children of Men, because that would delay you from reaching the sentence wherein I tell you to go see it, immediately. Which, conveniently, I’ve put right here at the front, so that I can now relax and go about my review at my normal, not-as-frantic pace.
So, then. Liked it, did you? …what do you mean you haven’t seen it yet? I just said… Oh, nevermind. Fine, we’ll do it your way. In the not at all distant future, the world is rocked by the death of its youngest person. Which sounds crazy, right, because people are born on a constant basis, so how would you even know? That’s just it, though. People have stopped being born. For reasons unknown to any world government, women have become completely infertile. Even test tube materials aren’t viable. At the same time, current dystopic tropes about immigration and terrorism have been amplified by the passing years and the new situation, such that Britain is the only marginally strong country left in the world (or so they claim to their citizens), and that only by virtue of iron-fisted control over the freedoms of its people. For example, providing food to a non-citizen is a punishable crime.
Clive Owens wanders through this bleak future with only a bottle and hippified Michael Caine for companionship. And it’s likely that he would have lived out his remaining days in the same manner, except that his estranged wife reveals herself to be the leader of an immigrant-rights based terrorist group and asks him to help a young illegal to get the proper papers to allow her to reach the coast, a waiting ship, and escape from Britain. Which is not a particularly compelling story to tell, one is forced to admit, except for one exceptional factor: the girl is pregnant.
It’s hard for me to say enough good about this movie. It has a little something for everyone. Great acting all around; a compelling political statement; a perfect balance of humor; the Operative; explosions; and above all else, a fleeting glimpse of the miraculous. I’ve gotten to where I take a lot of things in film for granted, and it’s rare that a scene will leave me holding my breath and in need of emotional recovery when it has ended. So, seriously. Go see it.