Children of Men
One of the many perks of my new flat is having a cinema five minutes’ walk away. Tonight, I strolled down there at five past nine for the nine o’clock showing. Being ten minutes late still gave me plenty of time before the actual picture but enabled me to avoid the adverts for Gillette’s latest 98-blade face-scraper or whatever. Advertising subsidises the cinema’s running costs and I don’t have to watch it. Everyone’s happy!
The trailers for Children of Men had piqued my interest, and I’d been looking forward to its release. It’s an interesting premise: women have stopped having babies, and global society has broken down; most countries have collapsed or been annihilated in war. Britain, meanwhile, survives as a refugee-demonising police state. So, no change there, then!
I love everything apocalyptic—I’ll be the one celebrating at the end of the world, enjoying the fireworks and feeling relieved that I won’t have to eke out a penurious old age on a pittance—and I wasn’t disappointed by the bleak dystopianism of the film. The idea of grannified Bexhill-on-Sea as a refugee camp—summary executions, burning cadavers and all—was inspired. (It’s also probably the only part of rounding up and expelling refugees that won’t have appealed to Daily Mail readers!)
But nothing is too jarringly different from now: by presenting a near future (2027) that’s recognisably rooted in our present, it feels credible and real. I’m not really sure that we’ll see tuk-tuks on the streets of London anytime soon, though!
There were a few weak points: when customising current cars to make future models, don’t choose something as immediately distinctive as the Renault Mégane: no amount of filler can disguise that idiosyncratic rear window. Also, when it comes to shooting scenes, less is more. Otherwise, the hero bullet deflection shield just gets unbelievable. The latter part of the film was a bit Lethal Weapon.
Still, it was an interesting, enjoyable, and provocative film.