Children of Men: Easily the Best Movie of the Year (SPOILERS possible)

I looked several pages into the history of the board before I made this post, but I don’t have search privileges so please accept my apologies if this topic has already been discussed.

I fancy myself a connoisseur of post-apocalyptic visions in both cinema and literature. A Boy and his Dog? Seen it. Mad Max? Seen it a thousand times over. A Canticle for Leibowitz? Read it until the pages started falling like leaves from the warped and broken binding. It was safe to say my expectations were anchored somewhere in the upper stratosphere, but…

… holy shit did this movie shatter any expectations I may have had.
Allow me to summarize for those of you who haven’t seen the trailer:

Theo Faron (Clive Owen), a former political terrorist turned jaded government bureaucrat, lives in a world where eighteen years ago women stopped being able to conceive. Since then, all of civilization has started to decay and a critical point is reached when Britain becomes the sole-surviving nation on the planet. It isn’t long before panic and fear dissolve the last vestiges of democracy, giving birth to a polluted totalitarian government that barricades itself from the rest of the world and struggles to adapt in a world that has no future.

Theo’s ex-wife Julian (Julliane Moore), leading a pack of political terrorists who call themselves The Fishes, steal Theo from the streets and whisk him off to their headquarters. They present to him a problem: they have someone who needs a government-issued pass so they can access Britain’s shore (and rendezvous with a mysterious organization known as The Human Project). After some reluctance, Theo agrees to procure the needed papers from his connections. When he returns to the group’s headquarters, the gravity of the situation is revealed to him: the person to whom he is to escort to the shore is pregnant.
Alfonso Cuarón has done an incredible job with this film, both in directing and writing the screenplay. The cinematography was so sharp, so evocative that I had to pick my jaw up off the floor at the end of the film. Some of the more violent sequences ran as long as ten minutes. No pauses. No changes of angle. Just one continuous shot of the protagonist as he runs through the smoking ruins of Britain’s outlying territories, dodging the pop-pop-pop of rapid gun-fire and and the eardrum-shattering explosions of grenades and missiles.

Which is to say nothing of the superb job Cuarón has done in capturing the very essence what it means to be human with his often-subtle, often-brutal take of hope and despair.

Am I the only one that could have possibly derived such pleasure from watching this movie?

I saw it at its cinema release on a really, really big screen and found myself frantically trying to pick up everything in the background while following the story. So much of the background action stole tableaus and hints from modern media that I was constantly slapped in the face. The storytelling cleverly turned several chase cliches on their head to create thrilling moments in fresh ways.

I am pretty sure that the movie was so brilliantly done that I will discover plenty more next time I see it on DVD.

I’ve been waiting for a thread on this film to come along for a while now.

It was released over here quite some time ago, but I saw that it wasn’t due in the US until 25/27th December (how popular is the cinema on Christmas day?).

I was stunned by this film, the attention to detail in the sets was amazing. All of the sets (paticularly Jasper’s shack and the family’s room in the refugee camp) were filled with small props like newspaper clippings and pictures that gave everything a ‘real’ quality.

The action scenes, as you say, were perfect filmed in long continuous shots. The two car-chases kept me on the edge of my seat through repeat viewings, and there’s a shot in the final escape from the camp where blood is splattered on the lens and remains there for a few minutes.

The style reminded me of 28 Days Later, which is a good gritty dystopian thriller. CoM, however, is a much better in terms of plot, directing and filming.

All in all it was really, really good. Watch it.

One question though. Despite watching it a few times, I can’t work out the relationship between Jasper and Theo. Jasper’s a father figure/old friend in Theo’s life, and has a disabled wife (through torture from MI5?). Is she meant to be Theo’s mother? There’s a reference to his mother from Julian later in the film, which would fit with this. I dont know if we’re supposed to know, or if they’re just meant to be two old friends of his. Any thoughts?

Jasper used to be a political cartoonist, so I was always under the assumption the two of them forged a friendship back when Theo was a hardcore politico.

Very. Theaters are packed here on Christmas Day. It’s a family tradition of ours to go see a movie on Xmas, and we’re not the only ones.

I have yet to see the movie, but my reaction upon seeing the trailer was “Great premise dumbed down to yet another series of action sequences.”

Hopefully, I’m wrong. But I’d hate to read the above glowing reviews to go in and see the usual, setup, conflict, chase, chase, expository scene, chase, the end pattern reassert itself.

Julian was the hardcore politico. Theo was just in it to get laid. (From the man himself)

That seems cool to me. Christmas over here (or at least with families that I know) seems to be a festival of eating as much as you can and an excuse to starting drinking very early in the morning that isn’t alcoholism. (I made myself a long vodka at 10:30am on Christmas morning. Apparently a glass of wine or whiskey is acceptable, but my sister told me off for ‘properly’ drinking that early.)

I like the idea of watching a film on Christmas day, we’re not allowed to put the TV on (mainly through fear we might accidentally catch some of the Queen’s Speech). That said, if I were to choose a film for Christmas day I wouldn’t choose this one.

Although it does have slight parallels with the Nativity…

There’s some parallel discussion of the book here.

I just saw the film tonight. I loved it.

For a while I couldn’t figure out the thing with all the dogs. (and cats) I guess everyone has a pet as a substitute child. But why did all the animals like Theo? They all knew he was a good guy. Heck, the good guy.

I hope it does well. Clive Owen can’t seem to have a hit in America, but I think he is really good.
(BTW) The week between Christmas and New Years is huge for the movie business. Practially every day’s take is like a a good Saturday’s box office.

My sister got the impression that Jasper and his wife were Julian’s parents. I was suprised when she said that since I didn’t remember thatbeing said or implied.

I thought that at first, but Julian refers to Theo’s mother later in the film but never enquires after Jasper in the same conversation. Dont know if that means anything or not though.

Though there are a number of 2006 films that I haven’t caught yet (Volver, Iwo Jima, Pan’s Lab. for starters), I’m having a hard time disputing the OP. As much as I enjoyed other films this year, no other was as truly remarkable on so many levels as this one. Wow.

I’ve only read the book. In that, I think Jasper was an older academic colleague of Theo’s, but it’s been a long time and I’m not sure. Come to think of it, the wife may also have been, but I think she had advanced Alzheimer’s by the time of the story.

One big difference from the book is that England was not yet the only country left on Earth. One of the poignant passages in the book was the reference to aging crowds of tourists, shuffling through Rome and Florence.

I just saw this. It opens tomorrow in the US so I thought I’d chime in and put the thread up where more people will read it and post to it after seeing it.

This is a wonderful film. The action scenes are amazing. I was surprised to see how long some of the hand-held shots went on. In this day of MTV-style cutting when a 3 second shot seems too long, it was great to see a director just point the camera and let the actors and technicians do their thing for long stretches. Notice how long the take goes on during the chase by the motorcycle and note how many people have to get so many things right. And with the cameraman right there in the car! I expect the fire on the front of the car and the motorcycle crash were aided by the digital wizards, but still. The birth scene was another eye-popper. Long and with a lot of camera movement and the best animatronic I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure it would have been as powerful a moment if it were chopped up into little bits the way most directors would have done it. Also notice the long take of Owen running through the ghetto during which some blood splatters on the lens. I did notice that the blood disappears even as the take seems to continue, so again, there may have been some digital manipulation here too.

It’s grim and violent, but there’s a ray of hope that’s always right there along with it. Clive Owen is terrific as an average guy caught up in an extraordinary situation. Shades of Hitchcock!

I couldn’t help but think that the story owes quite a bit to “The Handmaid’s Tale”, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment.

Highly recommended.

Not sure what everyone is finding so amazing about it. But it’s not a bad film to be sure.

It’s not a completely Disneyfied 1984, but you would still do better to just watch the original.

I agree that the hype is a bit much but it is good. The thing is, IMHO, this has been a rather weak year for films.

This is like Die Hard but smarter, with a dash of Casablanca thrown in for fun.

I’m 100% with all the praise this movie’s been getting. I’ve seen it twice so far and want to see it again.

Definitely not Julian(ne Moore)'s parents. Right after the kidnapping, Theo asks Julian if her parents were “in New York” (indicating that it had been destroyed by a nuclear bomb or something) and she says yes.

In that same scene, Julian says she heard about Theo’s mother and that she was sorry. That, and the fact that Theo didn’t blink an eye when Jasper asked Theo to feed her, could indicate that Jasper’s wife (Janice?) was Theo’s mother (and perhaps Jasper was his stepfather) but if that were true I’d think Theo would have made a bigger stink about Jasper and “his mother” not going with them when they were imminent danger.

I really loved Jasper. This may be my favorite Michael Caine performance/character ever.

The woman had Alzheimer’s in the book? Interesting. In the movie, the newspaper clippings on the wall indicated that she had been tortured by the government. Something like “Government denies torturing photojournalist” with a picture of a younger her. One assumes from that that she broke and became catatonic.

I can’t wait for the DVD, where I can pause and read all of the newspaper clippings.

The book didn’t get much love in that other thread, and this could be a case where the movie is better than the book. In any case, the movie has made me want to read the book to get more background.

It’s not playing locally dammit. I look forward to seeing it though. Prolly on Netflix.

Every year someone says that and every year I wonder, how many movies did you see during the year?

2006 was not a weak year for film. No year is, not if you’re looking.