Saturday, 28 October 2006

Movie: Children of men

From the moment I saw the preview on At the movies I wanted to see this movie. Starring Clive Owen, Children of men is set in a bleak not-too-distant future where women have been mysteriously sterile for 18 years. It's set in an England where "illegal immigrants" are herded around in metal cages and dumped in illegal immigrant camps. One of these is the entire town of Bexhill on England's southern coast (near Hastings). There's a terrorist group fighting for the rights of these illegal immigrants, and they contact our hero (Clive Owen's character, Theo) to enlist his aid to smuggle one of these (who is miraculously pregnant in a world where no babies have been born in 18 years) out of the country.

As such, the plot is relatively straightforward. It's basically a chase storyline, with a few twists and turns along the way. Julianne Moore plays Theo's ex-wife and leader of the terrorists; Michale Caine plays a hippyish reclusive bloke, close friend of Theo's, who grows and sells weed to the immigration camp officers. It's not always clear what extra significance the baby holds for those chasing after it, but it's a minor criticism.

For me, the most striking thing about this movie was the plausibly bleak outlook of our future. While it's unlikely that women will suddenly become sterile on a global basis, maybe we should be considering the effect our modern lifestyle has on our general health and ability to reproduce. And as for the treatment of immigrants/refugees . . . in Australia we have such a poor history in this area that it must strike us all particularly hard. This film made me wonder what would happen in this country if our government pushed things a little more, ever so slightly more.

It's a pretty violent film. Lots of guns firing, although not much gore. Thousands of bullets whizzing around. And a lot of swearing. There's also a lot of death, and a slightly unsatisfactory ending . . . I would have liked another scene or two, just to complete the resolution. I think it needed a few more rays of hope in what was an incredibly bleak experience.

It's a really GOOD film, without being a terribly uplifting one. Very thought-provoking though.

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