Saturday, November 11, 2006

Children Of Men

Released already in UK, hasn't made its way to Vancouver yet, but I'm keeping watch. A friend said the trailer made him cry! Yikes.

Film version of a novel by P.D. James, one of the most widely-read (and literary) mystery novelists in the world, a Church Of England Christian. Children Of Men is her most explicitly Christian/spiritual work, tackling "right to life / value of human life" issues in a quasi-sci-fi, quasi-apocalyptic genre setting. Julianne Moore, Michael Caine, Clive Owen, Chiwetel Ejiofor (remember him from DIRTY PRETTY THINGS!)
"CHILDREN OF MEN envisages a world one generation from now that has fallen into anarchy on the heels of an infertility defect in the population. The world's youngest citizen has just died at 18, and humankind is facing the likelihood of its own extinction. Set against a backdrop of London torn apart by violence and warring nationalistic sects, CHILDREN OF MEN follows disillusioned bureaucrat Theo as he becomes an unlikely champion of Earth's survival. When the planet's last remaining hope is threatened, this reluctant activist is forced to face his own demons."


Nov 17: And now Jeffrey Overstreet's had a chance to preview it, and here are his initial comments, posted at A&F (deliberately vague: I believe he's reviewing the film for CT Movies, and there's a publication ban until a film has officially opened);
If you've seen the preview, well... you've mostly seen stuff from the first ten minutes of the film. And let me tell you... you ain't seen nuthin' yet.

Greg Wright and I saw this together today, and I think I can speak for both of us in saying that we were enthralled... no, ROCKED... by this film. If you see one Christmas movie this year... this should be it.

(And I'm willing to include The Nativity Story in that rather large claim, even though I haven't seen it yet. Because, well... this IS a nativity story of sorts. And I highly doubt that Hardwicke's film will give me a clearer sense of how dark and dangerous was the world the Christ child entered, how desperate Mary and Joseph felt, how badly people needed him to come, or how much it meant to the vigilant, the humble, and the wise when he arrived.)

Stu, you're not alone. Children of Men brought tears to my eyes more than once.

The film has played in enough places, and been reviewed by enough publications, that I don't understand why the publicists are telling us not to publish reviews. I mean... it's already out there, folks! Oh well, I'll save my *review* until later, but I'm not going to box up my enthusiasm.

I'll just say a few very general things to get you curious:
- Alfonzo Cuaron is suddenly one of the best action directors on the planet. All plans for another Die Hard film should be dropped, and they should start from scratch with him. It might end up being as good or better than the original. I might even consider giving him Indiana Jones 4.
- The vision of the future is both terrifying, heartbreaking, and unnervingly plausible. I can't think of a futuristic film that has made me feel like I really am living in the last days of the world the way that this movie does.
- STUNNING, SHOCKING things happen in this film. I think I actually shouted at one point.
- It has chase scenes. Wicked chase scenes.
- Michael Caine. 'Nuff said.
- Peter Mullan. 'Nuff said.
- And Charlie Hunnam is a freaking chameleon. I didn't even know he was in the film until I saw his name in the credits, and even then it took me a moment to figure out who he had played.
- What I said about Danny Huston in The Proposition thread... I'm saying it again here (although I wanted a lot more of him).
- A classic rock song that never meant much to me suddenly means something to me.

Oh... so much more I want to tell you. I can't wait until you all see it.

Jeffrey Wells writes...
"Best Picture of the Year" means different things to different folks. For some (most, I suspect) it means being the most fundamentally "entertaining" -- the one that reaches the broadest middlebrow audience. (Which is why a lot of people are suddenly behind Dreamgirls.) For others, it's the film that's the most soul-soothing or life-capturing (Volver, Babel, Little Miss Sunshine, The Lives of Others ). Or that seems the most complete and fully realized according to its own particular rules (The Departed, The Queen, Pan's Labyrinth, United 93).

But for me, the highest synthesis of Best Picture satisfaction means delivering on one or two of the above plus one other -- it has to be visually historic. It has to knock your socks off by way of sheer visual energy or innovation. So much so that what you're seeing becomes absolutely "real" and everything else drops away. The popcorn is put under the seat, notions of bathroom breaks are out of the question, and you almost stop blinking for fear of missing something.

Alfonso Cuaron's Children of Men is that film, and is my choice so far for Best Picture of the Year.

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