Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Children of Men

I'm really hoping that Mrs. F and I get to see Alfonso Cuaron's latest, which has been getting bags of great reviews and fought its way to #3 on the box office charts last weekend without a wide release or large marketing push. Here's the gist of the film from Lisa Schwarzbaum over at Entertainment Weekly (who gives it an A):
In the picture's scenario, set just a calendar page or two ahead of our own, the birthrate has dropped to zero, as if a mysterious worldwide plague of infertility were the inevitable by-product of societal rot. (A five-man team is credited with wrestling a script from the story, broadly based on the book by best-selling author P.D. James.) Apathy has led to privation, which in turn has led to conflagrations of lawlessness, even in Britain. And Britain has fared better than the rest of the crap world only by wielding a big militaristic stick to keep a semblance of order; the illegal refugees pouring into England are rounded up like — well, like those in images transmitted to us from any number of the world's current misery sites. Violence and terrorism are all the more disturbing for being so matter-of-fact. With no future to live for, the present will not hold.

In such a dead zone, Theo (Clive Owen), a callous bureaucrat who would have prospered in Brazil (and no one dedicates his good looks to the service of brutish characters better than Owen), just happens to cheat death when a bomb goes off at the crummy joint where he has picked up his morning coffee. Once Theo was an activist who fought the good fight alongside his lover, Julian (Julianne Moore, again dedicating her elegant delicacy of gesture to the service of a chilly tale). But while Julian continues her underground activities on behalf of revolution (her fellow anarchists call themselves the Fishes, as they swim against the current), Theo has long since given up, settling for thick-skinned cynicism as a defense against despair, relieved only by occasional visits (and drug binges) with an old hippie friend (Michael Caine, a gas in Jesus hair).

And here's an extended trailer from a user over at YouTube that's been trying to push the film toward Oscar noms (since Universal hasn't been working as much as it should).


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