Based on PD James' book of the same name, Alfonso Cuarón's thriller hits all the right notes. The story is compelling and the actors are riveting. The political and social commentary are incredibly effective as subtext in this cautionary tale. The violence is shocking, but not at all gratutious. In the end, hope and terror, police state and resistance, and power and humor are juxtaposed with great effectiveness.
The premise: It's 2027 and women have been infertile for 18 years. Anarchy reigns and the earth's cities are in chaos.
Set in and around a dystopian London fractious with violence and warring nationalistic sects, Children of Men follows the unexpected discovery of a lone pregnant woman and the desperate journey to deliver her to safety and restore faith for a future beyond.But don't take my word for it. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 91%. And the Onion's A.V. club had this to say:
Cuarón directs Children Of Men with remarkable long takes and indelible images, but it isn't the kind of craft that immediately calls attention to itself; Cuarón moves the story along with an intensity that makes it hard to pay attention to anything else. It's a film of astonishing immediacy, with all the urgency of a late-night phone call, but the human element drives it. Owen begins a broken man with little to sustain him beyond his relationship with a paternal Michael Caine, whose activism has devolved into a vague hopefulness and a routine of smoking pot, listening to music, and caring for his semi-comatose wife. By the film's end, Owen has been transformed and the possibility raised that the world might change with him. Cuarón has created a dire warning of the world that could be, but he's also made a film about faith, love, sacrifice, and all the other hard-won virtues that keep the world alive. It's a heartbreaking, bullet-strewn valentine to what keeps us human.