Children of Men (2006)
Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine, Claire-Hope Ashity. Director Alfonso Cuarón.
I expected a throwaway action-adventure, and was totally surprised. There is action, adventure, and plentiful explosions and gun fights, but thematically, this oddly named movie is about a future when all women have inexplicably become infertile. There hasn’t been a baby born in 20 years and humanity moves inexorably toward extinction. It’s a thought-provoking premise. Schools are derelict, playground noise a memory. I would have liked to explore the consequences of the idea, such as, what would be the meaning of the family? How would economics be structured if there were no next generation? What would gender relations be like? Would there still be motivation to create art and literature? Would the environmental movement continue?
What would we do, as a species, as we face our end on this planet? The movie’s answer is that we would persist in trying to kill each other. It is a dark, apocalyptic portrait of state terror and rebel resistance, set in
The main social strife is between rebels and the government. The rebels are refugees from other countries that have disintegrated
The McGuffin is that one of the refugee women (Ashitey) becomes pregnant. Her gang, led by Julianne Moore, plans to smuggle her to a mysterious research ship. There is no explanation why she cannot just go to a hospital. Maybe there are no OB-Gyn specialists left.
The DVD extras include a completely fascinating essay on modern society featuring, for no obvious reason, Thomas Lovejoy, founder of the Gaia environmental theory, expounding the dangers of global warming. Other segments are on the societal effects of fear, terrorism, globalization, capitalism, war, and other forces. While completely disjointed, and only tangentially relevant to the movie, it is a thought-provoking extra that alone justifies a DVD rental.
Based on a book by P.D. James, the narrative of this movie doesn’t really add up to a coherent story, but the ideas and images paint an impressionistic vision that stimulates thought.