Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Film: Children of Men (UK/USA, 2006)

This film carries very mixed emotions for me:

For the most part, it's the saddest, bleakest film I can recall seeing; in places the directing is somewhat hackneyed or heavy handed; and it is often violent.

On the other hand, there are reasons for the extraordinary bleakness, and there is redemption. And:
  • There are some extraordinarily well-made shots in a warzone - so vivid and memorable;
  • It has an extraordinarily moving scene in it – I cried;
  • It compellingly turned on its head the typical cultural valuation of a baby boy over a baby girl, better than any overtly feminist work could do.*

For those three reasons alone, it is worth seeing. Which is strange for me to say, since they are starkly contrasting points.

The plot is simple: a near-future dystopia where human fertility abruptly falls away completely. A journey through that world with a vestige of hope.

Interesting to note that it reminds me strongly of two other films: Sleeping Dogs (one of the first films for Sam Neill), and Dead Man. I shouldn't reveal too much, but the former gives a somewhat brighter parallel dystopia, and the latter is a more spiritual journey to a somewhat similar ending.
*Note that I'm not up for a debate on how society values girl babies and boy babies. Suffice to point to current practice in India and China, to illustrate what I'm trying to say.

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