Sunday, October 15, 2006

Children of Men

By far the best film I've seen this year, whether in the cinema or at home.

2027: the world has been gripped by mass infertility, and has gone to pot as a result. The only country to halfway survive is Britain, which has been turned into a totalitarian state where refugees are rounded up by the hundreds and thrown into war-torn "villages". Theo (Clive Owen), a low-level government worker steadily succuming to alcoholism, is contacted by his ex-partner Julian (Julianne Moore), who is now head of a terrorist organisation. They have a young refugee woman, Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey), who needs to be got to a ship docked in Brighton. The catch? She's eight months pregnant.

It's a little heavy-handed at times with the subject matter ("look we are talking about IMMIGRATION YES WE ARE") and the opening twenty minutes are a bit bald in their expositionary dialogue, but otherwise it is astonishingly good. The performances are uniformly excellent, the set design is incredible (you need multiple viewings just to see everything that's going on the background) and the direction is superlative. There's a ten-minute section that's already warranted some column inches all shot in one continuous take, where the camera follows Theo all round Bexhill, now a substitute for Iraq. He's persuing an abducted Kee through a pitched battle between the army and the terrorists, and it's utterly astonishing. Heaven knows how many months' preperation it needed. Oscar for director Alfonso CuarĂ³n right now please.

Right, next thing to do is read the PD James book it's based on...