Saturday, May 10, 2014

CHILDREN OF MEN (2006)

In the year 2027 the world has been stricken with two horrible afflictions.  In the first, all women have become infertile.  Without a baby being born in 18 years humans have lost all hope and everything has turned into chaos.  The second even more disastrous malady is cameras can no longer stand still.  They have to move all the time.  Even when it's not an action shot and it's just two people standing still talking about something serious, the camera is compelled to jiggle around all over the joint.  It's distracting, heartbreaking and sad.

For some reason the people in this movie don't even seem concerned about the punch drunk cameras.  Instead they selfishly spend all of their time trying to get a recently discovered pregnant woman to safety.  That's a lot harder than it sounds because Britain (where the film is located) is now the only functioning government left in the world, but just barely.  For the most part the entire country has turned into a George Orwell police state nightmare.  Former activist Clive Owen is recruited against his will by his ex-wife (Julianne Moore) into helping a young girl get to the "Human Project", another activist group that is rumored to have scientists specializing in infertility.  Stuff happens and next thing Owen knows he's in the thick of it with people from all sides trying to kill him.

I enjoyed CHILDREN OF MEN.  The story is interesting, the pace is good and some of the action sequences were impressively filmed.  But that goddamn camera was too much for me.  Purposely raw documentary style camerawork is okay for short periods of time.  When Takashi Miike used it briefly in 2003's YAKUZA DEMON with the rain splattering on the camera lens is was awesome (also his budget was probably 1:60 of what they used here), but in CHILDREN OF MEN the entire movie is filmed that way and it gets old quick.  I'm sure some people enjoy it and praise how it transports the viewer into the disorder of the the film, but to me it was just distracting.   After awhile I found myself paying more attention the the corners of the screen than the action on the screen.

Worth a watch, but I wish the story had been introduced a little better at the beginning, the overall story darker and the camerawork steadier.  Seeing Michael Caine playing air guitar to a bastardized version of Aphex Twin's "Omgyjya Switch 7" was pretty funny though.