Children of Men (15)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner20/09/2006

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 100 mins

Gripping, sharply scripted and ultimately moving thriller with strong performances and impressive direction by Alfonso Cuaron.

What's it all about?
Based on the futuristic novel by PD James, Children of Men is set in 2027, in a world where humans have lost the ability to reproduce and London lives in fear of illegal immigrants. Clive Owen stars as Theo, a jaded bureaucrat who finds himself drawn into an underground movement led by his ex-lover, Julian (Julianne Moore).

In desperation, Julian asks Theo to help her find safe passage for Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey), the first pregnant woman in nearly 20 years. However, their journey is fraught with danger and Theo is never quite sure who he can trust.

The Good
The performances are superb. Clive Owen is simply terrific in the lead – he seems to get better and better with every film. Ashitey (from Shooting Dogs) proves she's one of Britain's rising stars, whilst there's strong support from the likes of Michael Caine (clearly enjoying himself as an eccentric old friend of Theo's), Peter Mullan (as a bonkers military man) and Chiwetel Ejiofor as Julian's second-in-command.

Cuaron directs with a sure hand, orchestrating impressively long takes (with the aid of cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki) and maintaining a breath-taking pace throughout, largely by ensuring that the characters are constantly on the move.

The Great
This is a recognisable future with disturbing echoes of our political present. As such, the design of the film is extremely detailed and Cuaron throws in some nice touches, such as the inflatable pig that decorates Battersea Power Station in the style of Pink Floyd's album, Animals.

The only weak link is the casting of Charlie Hunnam (as one of Julian's underground group), who comes perilously close to ruining the film. He's disguised by dreadlocks and never seen in close-up but his terrible accent sticks out like a sore thumb.

Worth seeing?
In short, this is a gripping, thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining thriller. Recommended.

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Children of Men (15)
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Content updated: 15/12/2017 23:45

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