The Children of Men

We are late to the party with this review of a truly under appreciated sci-fi that we regret not formally placing on our original release of Power Cord’s Top 10 Sci-fi flixs ever. Graeme Dyehouse now hopes to rectify this with his latest article.

What it is: The year is 2027 and there has not been a single human child born on planet Earth since 2009. If that sentence alone did not send shivers down your spine then you have not thought long enough about the implications of such a scenario because I refuse to accept that I may be that much of an ineffectual writer. Alfonso Cuarón brought P. D. James’ book of the same name to the silver screen back in 2006 and it has stood as a fantastic film in its own right but may also be one of the greatest of the science-fiction genre. We begin with Theo Feron, a immigration official with the British government, the last functional government remaining since other countries have fallen into chaos as global infertility slowly unravels civilized society. Refugees flood the country, causing the government to institute Draconian immigration laws to keep the rest of the world out of England. In response, a radical group of these refugees have taken to fight said government IRA style: bombing cafés, underground smuggling, and general terrorism.

The scene is one of utter hopelessness and chaos and then Theo is kiddnapped by these refugees who demand he acquire passports for a teenage girl from Africa on their behalf. Why are terrorists helping out a teenage girl? That would be because she is pregnant.

Why I dig it: The true essence of any work of science-fiction is simply the question, “what if..?”, which is then suppose to divorce the piece of any semblance to our own reality where we currently exist. Usually putting the story in a future in which technology has completely warped human existence beyond immediate recognition does this. Through this lens is when a good science-fiction filters out much of everything else we understand, leaving us with pure human emotion, rationale, and feeling. This phenomenon is precisely what occurs in Children of Men. Sure the big movie trope is a quiet every day man suddenly has to be a big hero and save the day, but the vehicle in which it is carried is so fascinating and yet so simple, you can finally see a great story in action.

As mentioned, the film starts us off with a pretty gloomy introduction, and continues to do so. Right from the get-go we are more or less resigned to the idea that things are hopeless. Personally I feel that this film has its place in the tragedy genre as well. However the characters are what truly keep things light, they have a weary hope about them that keeps you rooting for them up until the tragic end. Certainly the end is by no means ideal but if I could interject my personal feelings once more; too many happy endings make too many optimists. The theme of hope runs continuously through the film, making the realities around the characters a stark contrast and therefore much more dramatic. But you enjoy it; it’s very subtle. Michael Caine has a particularly delightful role as an ex-journalist who now grows marijuana in his hideaway home in the forest outside of town.

To perservere in the face of all odds is most certainly an inspirational facet of our species and this film displays this most fantastically, earning its place as one of my favorite science-fiction films


5 thoughts on “The Children of Men

  1. God I love this movie. I am super stoked for Cuaron next venture into sci-fi with his upcoming movie, Gravity. If it’s anything like Children of Men I am sure it is going to kick ass

  2. Truly under appreciated sci-fi?!?! Hardly, it received three Oscar nominations (writing, editing, cinematography) and was the college campus ultra-hyped film (along the lines of Donnie Darko, Pan’s Labyrinth)… But in terms of a box-office fame, yes, didn’t make that much money although it has probably more than cut even with DVD sales. When this came out everyone was talking about it…

    1. Well, a large part of why Greame was compelled to write this was it was, in fact, completely snubbed on our own top 10 sci-fi movies list. Which in hindsight was a criminal offense on our part.

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