Last year there was a lot of talk that Clive Owen would be the next James Bond. At the time I thought he would be a perfect choice for the role. In retrospect I’m glad he didn’t get the part because A) Daniel Craig is terrific and B) if he had been playing Bond he likely wouldn’t have had the chance to make Children of Men.
Based upon the novel of the same name by British author PD James, Children of Men is set in England in the not so distant future. A television ad trumpets that the world has collapsed and social terror is the norm but “only Britain soldiers on.” Women have lost the ability to have babies, terrorism and civil war wracks most of the planet, and the youngest person in the world has just been killed in a bar fight.
Clive Owen plays Theo, an alcoholic who spikes his morning coffee with scotch on the way to his bleak, low-level bureaucratic job. He reluctantly becomes involved with a radical group run by his former girlfriend who recruits him to courier the world’s only pregnant woman to safety.
With this film director Alfonso Cuarón (best known as the filmmaker behind the art house hit Y tu mamá también and the mega smash Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) proves that he is one of the best directors working today. The movie takes off like a rocket from its opening moments, shot in long takes that resemble a documentary. His sense of pacing, accentuated by many unexpected thrills is flawless.
Add to that a steely performance from Owen, terrific turns by Julianne Moore, Michael Caine, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Peter Mullan as a psycho detention camp guard and you have the best movie of the year.
Children of Men was the best Christmas present I got this year.
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