Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Children of Men (2006)

TOP 100 FILMS: #65

In a futuristic world in which women stopped getting pregnant, a regular every day working man, Theo (Clive Owen), is recruited by his ex to help transport a girl with a shocking gift... she's the first women in 19 years to be pregnant. When things go horribly wrong, Theo becomes the only man she can trust, just as everyone is coming down on them, seeking that baby.

Some movies you watch and you're entertained, some movies you watch and you're intellectually challenge, and then there's the third kind, the best kind, the ones that manage both. Children of Men was just one of those kinds of films. With every move my hand was stuck glued to the bars on my seat, I was stuck in my chair, captivated by every scene, every new development, every shot. The story was remarkable, the characters epitomes of the reluctant hero, the camera use, perfection. Combining a wide variety of styles, Cuaron created one of the most remarkable films I've ever seen... one of those the second it was over I ran for the replay button and watched all over again.

Michael Caine, Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, the under appreciated Chiwetel Ejiofor, and relative new comer Clare-Hope Ashitey bring to life a remarkable piece of cinema, centered on its ability to absorb you into the characters. Each with their own backstory, none perfect, but in that you find a way to cheer/hate them, sympathize with even the worst of them, you see the true cost of such a rare event. There's no real stereotypical villain, as the main bad guy Luke (Ejiofor) manages to even unveil deeper issues underlying his drive. Meanwhile our main character is a make shift guy, without shoes, and despite being surrounded by them, never using a gun, his instincts display his passive nature, opposing his serious situation. Yet for all the great characters, none of this would have worked nearly as well without Cuaron behind the camera.

The use of camera work is really what draws you in though. I seldom notice the use of camera work, but with each viewing I realize just how great the use of it is. Each scene is perfectly crafted, combining a variety of shot styles that really put you into the film, almost as if you're an extra member of this rag tag group going on a quest yourself. Even then, the film is very aware of what it intends to be. It's not a cheerful, loud music blasting, over the top action film. Instead, each action scene relies on the natural sounds of that situation, from car door alarms to gunfire, it allows the film to carry a very real sense. Almost as if you're watching something that could happen, despite being a futuristic fantasy film. The movie lets the audience in, challenges their very intellectual morals and entertainment aspects, and resonates in every way.

One of the most memorable films I've seen of the last few years, Children of Men is not only a technical marvel, it's a story telling masterpiece, well worth repeat viewings.

3 better thoughts:

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

i like it but i don't love it

FilmFather said...

Every review I've read of C.O.M. (and every person I meet who's seen it) tells me how awesome it is -- so much so that I just know I'm going to be disappointed once I watch it.

However, all that praise is hard to ignore...

Quinn Bowman said...

I found this very to be far greater than expected. Though, there was the occasional pause in the story, the continuation of the two characters' story was captivating. The 7 minute or so one shot scene is quite simply amazing. It seemed to be so surreal.

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