Children Of Men (2006) Directed by Alfonso Cauron. With Clive Owen, Michael Caine, Julianne Moore.
As far as gritty and nightmarish near-futures go, they don’t come much gloomier than Alfonso Cuaron’s Children Of Men. It’s 2027, and the women of the world are infertile. As the film begins we join a random gathering of people grouped around a television set as a news broadcast reports a story of how the youngest person in the world (18 year old ‘Baby Diego) has been tragically murdered.
The first five-minutes are spent establishing the tone of the world we find ourselves in. With subtle tweaks, it initially looks very similar to what we know now, save for electronic ads playing on the side of public transport, and newspapers that update themselves (Minority Report anyone?). We soon learn that this is a world that’s been slowly dying for the past 18-years and that hope within humankind has started to vanish.
Taking the lead role is British actor Clive Owen who’s central performance is never less than excellent throughout. Owen brings a very real and natural presence that serves to make the world and surroundings all the more acceptable and convincing.
The real star of the show here though is director Alfonso Cuaron who’s talent and innovation as a film-maker come right to the fore with some quite spectacularly staged set pieces. Cauron’s camera’s lend a real intimacy to proceedings from the most brutal to the most beautiful of situations. Two key chase sequences in the film are so well choreographed, yet so grounded that the sense of danger and threat feels almost tangible and very visceral. A quite astonishing work from a hugely talented and exciting artist of a film-director. 4.5/5