Sunday, September 06, 2009

You Only Miss Things When They're Gone

Note: I'm sorry, I didn't realise this earlier (in my defense, this post was posted at almost 1 am) but there may be spoilers ahead. And the title of the movie (especially if you don't like to see the picture attached is called Children of Men)

It could have been Clive Owen's soulful eyes staring out of the DVD cover, or maybe the title of the movie, or even the description that sounded futuristic enough for me to pick it up. I don't know, but pick it up I sure did.

It all begins with the curious scene of people all over the world crying over the death of Diego, apparently the youngest human being then. I have a bone to pick with the depiction of people in Kuala Lumpur in the movie's news report... we do NOT go around in black burqas, trust me... I live near enough. Clive Owen (or Theo as we will find out slightly later) walks out of a cafe, and there's a bomb blast. The coffee in his take away coffee cup spills on the sidewalk as the smoke and noise wakes you up from your reverie as you admire the beauty that he brings on screen and you begin to take notice.

As the movie progresses, you are greeted with some confusion as the scenes unfold, revealing certain things but leaving a lot to your imagination, or perhaps your ability to read between the lines, or in this case, to see between the scenes. Strewn throughout the movie were dozens of F-bombs, which added much character to the movie which had a gloomy, sunshine-less atmosphere seeing the condition of people at that time, which when you look at it, doesn't seem to be too far away into the future... only about 20 odd years away, give or take.

To summarise the plot in a nutshell, the movie depicts a rather sad state for humans as there had not been any births of babies for the past 18 years for the plain and simple reason that the people were just infertile (I wouldn't be surprised, seeing the crap they put in food these days - melamine, anyone?) The human race seems to be dying. It looks as though the future is bleak. So the people got depressed, and even more depressed when the youngest kid around died. Imagine how the dodos must have felt.

A subplot (which then merges into the main plot for some reason) which I never really got was the bad treatment of refugees/illegal immigrants in Britain. My questions are, why were they running from their own countries? And why on earth were they going to Britain? No offense to Britain, but that part certainly baffled me for a bit. Oh well, actually I'm still pretty much baffled. I may need to read the book sometime soon to understand better, I suppose. Anyway, among these many illegal immigrants is a woman from Africa who (surprise, surprise) is pregnant, and it's up to Theo to take her under his wing (trench coat and flip flops, actually) to safety as he is the only one she trusts, after Julian/Julianne? (his ex wife who is part of this group called Fishes who take illegal immigrants to safety??) dies a bloody death in an awesome car chase scene with violence perpetrators and the police (This one's a bloody good scene, apart from the initial bomb blast)

A character I ought to mention is the lovable Jasper who lives in the woods and provides temporary shelter to Theo, Kee (the illegal immigrant... funny thing really, because other than her slightly accented English - not very British with a slight African accent, her mannerisms are very British, like the usage of the word "wicked!", and if I'm not mistaken, something that sounds pretty much like "wotcher" ) and Miriam (the midwife who accompanies Kee) He sadly doesn't meet a very good end. The movie progresses with Theo and Kee running to safety according to a plan which had been set Julian/Julianne, but as all movies go, they face incredible challenges along the way with double-crossers hurled their way and also a couple of nice people who help them (one of them practically bludgeons the previosuly mentioned double-crosser as I looked on in horror) The baby gets born safely (looks pretty much CGI, unfortunately but Kee's also a lovable character who wants to name her baby Bazooka), and there's a lot of action going on... marches in the refugee camp, bomb blasts, people shooting at each other (authorities vs the public/refugees)... and after escaping all that they arrive to the place where Kee will get to be safe after being picked up by a boat in the foggy ocean.

I thought the movie was pretty decent (despite the CGI like baby and the confusion about the refugees) because the cinematography was awesome, and I thought the soundtrack was pretty cool as well... One kinda creepy thing I noticed was the mention of a flu pandemic in 2008 (the movie was made in 2006 and released in 2007), and here we are in 2009 with a killer flu running loose in certain areas... life pretending to imitate art?


  1. I read two paragraphs of this and stopped. I will be back to finish it once I watch this movie later today. You think I'm joking? I assure you I'm not; I've had the movie for over a year now and have never really had a reason to watch it. You have given me that reason.

    Watch this space ;)

  2. That's funny - right this minute I am watching a movie called "Pandemic."

  3. Orhan: I have a feeling you might like it... :)

    SAW: Interesting...

  4. Okay, just finished watching it, like, 2 minutes ago and I have very mixed feelings about the film.

    Overall I didn't like it. The political overtone was not even nearly subtle and some of the acting was terrible. I really did try to like it but it had a very forced feel about it. The first act was very confusing and could've been simplified considering the main and sub-plot. The second act (everything after Theo escapes the Fishes compound with the midwife and Kee) is a movie unto itself. I spent the entire time trying to work out what kind of film it was exactly, and I came to the conclusion that it is a sci-fi thriller, but again, there was alot of little things that kept nagging me.

    Then came the final act. Did you notice the single shot scene where they're recaptured by the Fishes? It was one take from that scene to the top of that building. Personally, I think that is one of the best scenes ever produced. But it wasn't enough to save the rest of the film or the obscure ending that I saw coming.

    Funny thing is that I would recommend this movie to my friends, based on the cinematography alone. And the character Clive Owen portrayed was spot on, even if there were a few unbalanced moments.


    PS. Great review.

  5. You actually wrote a review here, with a rating!!! Thank you. Undoubtedly, the movie was obscure and confusing but I think I did like it although I can't really explain why.

    Yes, I remember that scene... It was good, and pretty realistic, especially with the blood splatter on the lens... (yeah, that's me being all morbid and stuff)

    PS: Thank you :)

  6. I'm a Clive Owen fan since the first time I saw him in Arthur and I'm sure I'll catch this movie :D

  7. He's surely one of the reasons to watch the movie... those eyes ;)

  8. I remember liking it with reservations too... and you know by looking at Clive Owen that he's just filthy (you know, in a good way!)!! I have a friend who gets this really dirty/dreamy expression on her face when you mention the words 'Clive Owen' and then she always says 'you know he's just filthy! with her eyes half closed!

  9. I can imagine... there's just something about him. Something very sexy ;)

  10. I saw this in the theater. I actually loved this movie. I am no particularly great fan of Clive Owen, but he did a more than competent job. I'll agree the cinematography was fantastic, but acting is about more than reciting lines. There are genuine moments when Clive doesn't say a thing but sets the mood and melds into the setting quite seamlessly. On the scale of dystopian flics, this is off the chart. Ad a film generally I still give it a 9/10, losing one point for the front loaded script and slightly rushed ending.

    Terra, have a look at another film called "It's all about love" starring Joaquim Phoenix and Clare Danes.

  11. There are genuine moments when Clive doesn't say a thing but sets the mood and melds into the setting quite seamlessly. How so very true... it is a well taken movie.

    And thank you for the recommendation. I will sure try to get hold of that movie when possible.

  12. I think people had mixed feelings about this film because they didn't know what to expect. For non-sci-fi fans, watching a futuristic, dystopian film, without forewarning can be a bit disconcerting, especially when you see "written by P.D. James".

    That said, Terra, the movie I recommended is another near future dystopian flic. Joaquim and Clare play polish people (only Danes is remotely believable and the acents are barely passable) try to tune this out.

  13. Yeah, that could be the reason for the mixed reviews... I know I'd love to try the book as well.

    As for movies, I suppose I'm open minded enough to try anything..

  14. It was a solid effect that looked great on the screen but I think critics read too much into they symbolism of it all.

  15. That's something I didn't do... read what the critics wrote.


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