Children of Men23 Jan 2017
This movie is truly a masterpiece. The writing, the cinematography, set and costume design, the camera work, lighting, action sequences, music, framing, use of background, intertextual artistic references, emotion management, almost every element of this film is executed to the highest degree. A couple of times, like in Gravity (with Sandra Bullock’s natal, umbilical, floating shot) the symbology (especially the Jesus/Christianity stuff) is a little too on the nose for my liking, but that is hardly worth complaining about.
On this viewing, I couldn’t help but think about how prescient this movie is. 2016 really marks the beginning of its time. Themes related to refugees, climate and government failure, the lack of imagination on the part of our leaders, and the turn toward nationalism and militarism are brilliantly constructed. I found myself thinking, over and over again, about how all the things I know about society, public policy, community building, all basically fall apart if there’s no future to live for. And unlike other science fiction, where the near-future is threatened, this film denies its characters the middle-distance or far-distance future. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a story where life still goes on, knowing that the clock is counting down for humanity. So much of current social cohesion takes for granted the idea that tomorrow is coming. But perhaps this is the ultimate lesson of this film – that we are currently living in a world where tomorrow (whether through climate change, or some other man made or natural disaster) is not guaranteed, we just refuse to accept it.