Synopsis
Earth, 2027: hope for the future has become a dwindling resource. It has been nearly 19 years since the last baby was born, and with each passing year of inexplicable, global childlessness, mankind edges closer to giving up all claims to a future. While most people choose to embrace the inevitable and descend into separatism, lawlessness and nihilism, others fight on for a unified planet and the rights of the dwindling populations. Great Britian is seeing a tremendous influx of illegal refugees landing on its shores. But with a firm, totalitarian hand, the 'fugees' are herded into detainment camps and deported. Theo is a former activist turned bureaucrat who is way past caring anymore. All of that abruptly changes when Theo finds himself bundled into the back of a van and brought before Julian. Once his partner in both love and war, she is now the head of a covert group fighting government forces. Julia seeks a favour from Theo. She needs to obtain transit papers for Kee, a young woman within her organization who must be taken to the coast where 'The Human Projects' will take her out of the country to a safe place. Theo soon finds out why.
What The Critics Say
"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. In short, this is a gripping, thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining thriller. Recommended."
Matthew Turner VIEWLONDON
"Cuaron and his co-screenwriters do the important little things that help make characters believable and take sufficient time to register the deeper impact of things that are troubling the world. They make a place without children's laughter truly a place of horror. The sign over the refugee camp saying Homeland Security is a sly touch.."
Ray Bennett HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
"There's so much to enjoy about this film that we don't want it to end. It's a feast for the eye and the mind. It's packed with harrowing story twists and shocking revelations that provoke us to really think about the issues involved (you'll never consider the sound of an incessantly crying baby quite the same again). And all of this combines into a film that's about as satisfyingly entertaining as movies get."
Rich Cline FILMFOCUS
"Pic more than delivers, however, on the action front -- not in bang-for-your-buck spectacle but in the kind of gritty, doculike sequences that haul viewers out of their seats and alongside the main protags. Along with camera operator George Richmond, who shot the entire movie handheld in 16 weeks, Cuaron orchestrates several lengthy single takes that have a front-line feel. Production and costume design have the utterly believable look of the near future: like the present day but with a few tweaks. And Cuaron's decision not to shoot in widescreen actually accentuates the movie's gritty power. U.K. locations are all well used, including some right in the heart of London."
Derek Elley VARIETY
Clive Owen stars as Theodore Faron in the scifi drama Chilren Of Men
Michael Caine stars as Jasper in the scifi drama Chilren Of Men
Claire-Hope Ashitey stars as Kee in the scifi drama Chilren Of Men
Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Luke in the scifi drama Chilren Of Men
Julianne Moore stars as Julian Taylor in the scifi drama Chilren Of Men
Pam Ferris stars as midwife Miriam in the scifi drama Chilren Of Men
"Cuarón has enough flair for action to keep the chase involving and shows as much sensitivity with Theo's spiritual re-awakening. A scene where guns are silenced by the sound of a crying baby cuts straight to the heart of the matter and lingers afterwards. Like the film on the whole, the surrounding noise can be distracting, but there are deeper truths that strike a chord."
Stella Papamichael BBC MOVIES
"Cuarón has achieved something tremendous, and his take on the action genre rivals that of Paul Greengrass in terms of invigoration. His eye is unfaltering, much like Theo’s, and his film a provocative circus of the mind, rich in ideas and invention but never too proud to stoop to a fart gag. A visually stunning Swiftian satire, Children Of Men may appear clumsy, but its message is simple, heartfelt and ultimately rather moving."
Damon Wise EMPIRE MAGAZINE UK
"Cuarón keeps things moving at a breathtaking pace, packing the screen with so much clever imagery that we can barely take it in (this is definitely one for the big screen). Emmanuel Lubezki's expert cinematography captures a future that's technologically advanced in intriguingly believable ways, but is never remotely Spielberg-slick."
Rich Cline FILMFOCUS
"Children of Men is much more successful when it's an actioner than when trying to tackle contempo social issues. These elements may be enough to satisfy the action-sci-fi aficionados, though not those who expect a politically relevant dystopian feature. There’s a thrilling climactic sequence, involving an assault on a car by two sharpshooters on a scooter and a shoot-out involving the army and brigands, that brings to mind Ridley Scott’s masterfully staged scene in "Black Hawk Down." Though he has only two or three scenes, Caine shines, giving the film the little warmth and color it has with his wonderfully eccentric turn that should be remembered at Oscar time."
Emanuel Levy EMANUALLEVEY.COM
Baroness Phyllis Dorothy James O.B.E - Acclaimed Author
"Children Of Men" is an based on the 1992 novel by author P. D. James, one of the most famous mystery novelists in the world and considered by some to be a more literary version of famed author Agatha Christie. Phyllis Dorothy James OBE is the author of 19 books, most of which have been filmed and broadcast on television in the United States and other countries. Married in 1941 widowed in 1964, made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1983, James was elevated to the level life peer as Baroness James of Holland Park, of Southwold in the County of Suffolk in 1991. James did not begin writing until she reached her thirties. Her first novel, "Cover Her Face" was accepted by the first publisher who read it and was subsequently published in 1962. James spent 30 years in various departments of the British Civil Service, including the Police and Criminal Law Department of Great Britain’s Home Office. She has served as a magistrate and as a governor of the BBC from 1988 to 1993. In 2000 she celebrated her 80th birthday and published her autobiography, Time to Be in Earnest. The recipient of many prizes and honors, including Grand Master Award from Mystery Writers of America (1999); and the Diamond Dagger from British Crime Writers’ Association (1987); TWO time CRA Macallan Silver Dagger for Fiction Award winner and two time Best Novel Award Mystery Writers of America (1971 & '73) now lives in London and Oxford. Born on the 3rd of August 1920 in Oxford, England,James is the eldest of three children; has two children through her marriage to Dr Connor Bantry White (deceased), and is the proud grandmother to five grandchildren.
The Inside Story
For many cinemagoers, the picture painted in "Children Of God" is indeed one that portrays a dark, bleak and somewhat hopeless future for mankind. Well not according to the films director. "When I make a film, it is from my standpoint, so the fact that I am a hopeful person ‘taints’ this film. Humanity has an amazing talent for destruction; but also, we can show solidarity and an ability to come through problems together. In the end, "Children of Men" isn’t so much about humanity being destructive, it’s more about ideologies coming between people’s judgment and their actions that is at work in this story," says the acclaimed director of "Y tu mamá también" and J.K. Rowling’s "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban", Academy Award nominee Alfonso Cuarón, who by the way, studied cinema and philosophy at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Cuarón's debut film "Sólo con tu pareja" or "Love in the Time of Hysteria" attracted the eye of producer Sydney Pollack ("Birthday Girl", "Cold Mountain" & "The Interpreter") who was so impressed he hired Cuarón to direct "Murder Obliquely an episode of the neo-noir "Fallen Angels" series on Showtime. Pollack certainly had great intuition because that episode, which starred Laura Dern and Alan Rickman, won Cuarón the 1993 Cable ACE Award for Best Director. But how did Alfonso Cuarón end up directing this film based on the novel by enormously famous author P. D. James? It all started nine years ago when producer Hilary Shor ("Beautopia" & "Eye of the Beholder") had just set up the production company 'Hit and Run Productions'. "Propitiously," Shor says, "it was really the first magical piece of material that I optioned. It’s obviously been a long time coming, but it’s been nine marvelous years bringing this project to fruition." It just so happened that at the time Shor took up the option another player came on the scene. Producer Marc Abraham of Strike Entertainment was also a fan of the book and he too was looking into optioning the rights. A meeting between Abraham and Shor led to a mutual agreement to work together. It wasn't an easy road. The project experienced waxing and waning periods of activity, but it finally started to gel when filmmaker Cuarón showed interest in it. "Alfonso is a uniquely talented director. His passion is undeniable and his vision inspiring. His involvement reinvigorated all of us," says Abraham" Cuarón, who had been given an early draft of a screenplay, had barely turned past the first few pages. But later, while on holidays, it started to click. "I initially didn’t connect with the script, but there was a premise there that haunted me for the next couple of weeks. I remember being in Santa Barbara on the beach and suddenly seeing the whole film right there, in front of my eyes," Cuarón remembers. What will surprise many cinemagoers is that he says "Children Of Men" is not a sci-fi film. "I didn’t want to do a film about the future," he explained. "I wanted to do a film about the present, and the circumstances today that are crafting our future." So it's definately not sci-fi? "This isn’t science fiction," he said. "It’s a chase movie, set in 2027." So is it a 'Big Brother' style film? Evidently not! "Many of the stories of the future involve something like 'Big Brother', but I think that’s a 20th century view of tyranny. The tyranny happening now is taking new disguises," he suggests. "The tyranny of the 21st century is called democracy." Now that's a statement many of us would agree with for sure.
British leading man Clive Owen, cast in the role of Theo, was quickly drawn to the story, the role and working with Cuarón. He agress that "Children Of Men" is not a sci-fi film. "Alfonso’s work is visually stunning, and he’s one of the very few directors who is in absolutely every wardrobe meeting, every makeup meeting and every props meeting. When something is produced and it’s not quite right or in keeping with his vision, it’s gone. Alfonso came to London and we sat down and talked about the film, and I just felt it was a strong, bold and unusual take on this slightly futuristic story. A lot of people were misled into thinking it was a sci-fi story, but then I read the script and found out it was a very different kind of animal," Owen said. The filmakers cast versatile actor Julianne Moore in the part of committed activist Julian. "What was interesting for me about Julian first and foremost was that she was a woman who is the leader of this activist group. It’s rare, even in modern films, to see a woman in charge of a radical group," notes Moore. Just for the record, Moore says, she to was attracted to the project because of Cuarón's involvement. "I think he’s extraordinary. He has a tremendous imagination and a keen sense of how to tell a story visually. On this film, we sometimes worked with very little lighting, using a lot of handheld or a steadicam—almost like an independent film. I think that adds a sense of the visceral. It’s a somewhat dark story to tell, but it is also illuminated, in the end, with hope." Legendary actor Michael Caine was cast in the role of Theo’s oldest friend and confidante, Jasper. You guessed right. He too was attracted to the project because Cuarón was at the helm of the film. "I wanted to meet the man who named his film "Y tu mamá también", which is a Mexican curse, nothing to do with your mother. Alfonso was wonderful, and I hadn’t done a role quite like Jasper. I work for fun and profit now. I’ve got the profit part sorted out, and now I’m working on the fun, and this is fun." Nineteen year old Londoner Clare-Hope Ashitey, got the role of Kee following a huge search instigated by the film’s casting agents. Ashitey landed her first major role as a 14 year old Tutsi refugee named Marie in the 2004 film, "Shooting Dogs". How does she see her character, Kee? "When we first see her, she’s sullen and doesn’t give much away. As time goes on, we see that she’s mischievous and quite needy, but is also rebellious and has a little bit of an attitude, not exactly the vision of a girl who holds the hope of the future in her hands, right? Along the way, a father/daughter relationship grows between Theo and Kee." After another long search, the role of Julian's second in command, Luke, went to Chiwetel Ejiofor. "Chiwetel just rose to the top, he’s a great actor and his casting of Luke was just a revelation," notes producer Eric Newman" "When Chiwetel and I discussed the character of Luke, we hit on very similar ideas, and he nailed it in his last speech," says the director. If you think that having such a top cast on board is all that "Children Of Men" has to offer then you are in for a big surprise. The cinematography is exceptional. The adaptation works extremely well. The setting is scary. "Children Of Men" is a real treat.
The Verdict
"A solid, edgey, dark thriller/drama that projects its bleak future for mankind with a terrifying and at times shocking intensity. Alfonso Cuarón's direction is superb. "Children Of Men" is exceptionally well photographed. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki's images evoke all sorts of emational responses ranging from heartfelt tenderness, disgust, fear, hope and the sorrow of loss. There are two cast members I gave big wraps to when they were virtual unknowns. Once again they live up to my expectations by giving solid performances. Clive Owen ("Croupier") and Chiwetel Ejiofor ("Dirty Pretty Things") are rock solid in their roles as Theo and Luke, respectively. Newcomer Claire-Hope Ashitey does a fine job as the heavily pregnant Kee whose swollen belly contains living hope for the future. Screen legend Michael Caine's role in the film may not be a 'starring' one, but never the less, his is a worthy contribution. "Children Of Men" is highly recommended. 4 1/2 STARS."
Cast & Crew Bytes
"CHILDREN OF MEN" stars .......
Clive Owen
["Croupier", "Greenfingers", "Gosford Park", "The Bourne Identity" and "Closer"]; Julianne Moore ["Hannibal", "The Shipping News", "Far From Heaven", "The Hours", "Laws of Attraction" and "Trust the Man"]; Chiwetel Ejiofor ["Love Actually", "Melinda and Melinda", "Four Brothers", "Kinky Boots" and "Inside Man"]; Claire-Hope Ashitey ["Shooting Dogs"], Pam Ferris ["Matilda", "Death to Smoochy" and "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban"] and Michael Caine ["The Quiet American", "The Actors", "Batman Begins" and "The Weather Man"] as Jasper.
"CHILDREN OF MEN" was .......
directed by Cable ACE and Ariel Award winner Alfonso Cuarón
["Who's He Anyway", "Great Expectations", "Y tu mamá también" and "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban"]; screenplay by Timothy J. Sexton [TV'S "The Arturo Sandoval Story", "Boycott". "Live From Baghdad" and "Walkout"] and Alfonso Cuarón ["Who's He Anyway", "Love in the Time of Hysteria" and "Y tu mamá también"]; cinematography by Silver Ariel Award winner Emmanuel Lubezki A.S.C. ["Love in the Time of Hysteria", "The Birdcage", "Sleepy Hollow", "Y tu mamá también", "The Assassination of Richard Nixon" and "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events"]; original music by John Tavener ["Pilgrimage", "The Veil of the Temple" and "Battle In Heaven"]; edited by Alex Rodríguez ["Y tu mamá también", "Mr Firecul", "Mistress of Spices" and "The Listening"]; costume design by BAFTA Award winner Jany Temime ["Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire", "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban", "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" and "The Commissioner"]; production design by RTS and two time BAFTA Award winner Jim Clay ["Love Actually", "The Crying Game", "About a Boy" and "Match Point"] and BAFTA Award winner Geoffrey Kirkland ["Midnight Express", "Mississippi Burning", "Angela’s Ashes" and "The Right Stuff"], set decoration by Jennifer Williams ["Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure", "Angela's Ashes", "Pearl Harbor" and "After the Sunset"].
Run Time 109 minutes
Rated MA15+ [AUST]
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