Thursday, November 30, 2006

Children of Men

Another sneak preview: Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men.

I have a bit of respect for Cuarón, so I was a bit disappointed when I saw this movie's trailer a while back--it seemed hokey and uninspired. Luckily, the mediocre trailer really doesn't do justice to the work itself.

So I guess Cuarón might be my favourite living director. For example, on at least a couple of occasions in this movie, I was watching an amazing scene carefully unfold--very tense, very close, lots of action, great acting--and then I realized that what I was watching was in fact one long uncut shot, and I just about bit off my tongue. On a less jaw-dropping scale, Cuarón makes great use of bits of the set (ads, graffiti, etc.) to give the audience a feel for the world of the movie, which lets him avoid getting bogged down in lengthy and contrived expository dialogue.

The premise of the movie is that it's 2027, and no one has been able to have any children since 2009. Humanity seems doomed, and, naturally enough, most people seem to react by doing their best to ensure that the world ends sooner than later, and as violently as possible. So, all of humanity is lost in utter despair--but now comes, at long last, hope that humanity might yet survive.

In response to this, everything ought to change, the whole world ought to be still and silent, every other agenda ought to be stopped and forgotten. But this isn't what happens at all. For all but a few of the people we see in the movie, either nothing changes, or some things change, but only out of the recognition that this enormously important source of hope can be directly translated into power.

So, the movie has some hefty morals, but it doesn't waste time preaching. Explosions and bullets notwithstanding, the whole thing is nicely understated. Even heroism in the movie is understated--it isn't established through the familiar devices of close-ups of steely gazes or one-liners or rousing soliloquys or even slow-motion shots; rather, the heroism is displayed through (of all things) actions, shown in unadorned, documentary-style fashion.

The movie's also really funny, with some great moments of satire and black comedy.

So, great movie. It even managed to redeem Clive Owen in my eyes, which I wouldn't have thought possible following the breathtakingly awful King Arthur--that alone is quite the feat.

1 comment:

Paul said...

I've been waiting fairly desperately for this one, but to no avail. I even bought an unwatchable camcorder-in-the-theater bootleg, and gave up. Mayhap it'll be out in Vancouver when I get there for Christmas.