In 2027, mankind is on the path to extinction because no children have been born in 18 years. While the world descends into chaos, Great Britain remains relatively calm but has become a police state. The government regularly extradite refugees (nicknamed 'Fugies'), though some citizens, the 'Fishes', are opposed to it. Some protestors take it a step further and become terrorists.
Theo (Clive Owen), a public servant, is contacted by members of the Fishes, his ex-wife Julian (Julianne Moore) and Luke (Chewetel Ejiofor) to obtain some exit papers for a refugee, Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey). When the Fishes' initial plan to steal Kee out of the country fails, Theo, his mentor Jasper (Michael Caine) and Kee's companion Miriam (Pam Ferris), find an alternative route.
After previously directing possibly the best Harry Potter film, 'The Prisoner of Azkaban', I expected Alfonso Cuaron would make 'Children of Men' another exceptional film. The production and technical aspects of the film are fantastic; London feels like city under seige from within and there's some tour de force single-shot camera work by DoP Emmanuel Lubezki.
However, other than one scene in a refugee camp, the film lacks emotional punch. Ironically, while the single-shot scenes are impressive, they removed instead of involved me because I spent more time admiring the technique rather than getting swept away by the story. Characters have rather predictable roles (Theo is the everyman hero, Kee the package, Miriam provides some exposition) or are discarded too quickly. The most annoying issue is that Luke's motivations, which drives most of the plot, are unclear.
Good film, lots of technical aspects to admire, but too studied for me to fully enjoy.
3 out of 5 stars.
11 March 2009