Children of Men

Wow! What an amazing movie! Just don’t see it if you want to be cheered up.

Its tagline — “No children. No future. No hope.” — rather gives that away.

This 2006 film is an impressively well-made dystopian vision of the very near future (2027) as seen through the eyes of P.D. James. Best known for her literate mystery novels that are more in the mainstream genre than the mystery genre, James wrote the book that was adapted for this bleak movie. But the director and writers made so many changes that it is as much as a new work as it is an adaptation of the original. I suppose that the book and the movie both need to be labeled science fiction, but there is so little science in either that we have to be stretching the boundaries of that genre (just as James stretched the boundaries of what we call mysteries). There are no aliens, no space travel, no robots — none of the typical trappings of science fiction. In a sense the science that is fictionalized here is political science. What we have is really a Lord of the Flies in reverse — the chaos that results when adults are in a society without children. For Children of Men is an astonishing portrayal of a world in which social structures and governments have collapsed as a result of an unexplained world-wide inability to have children. A totalitarian military government rules England, the only remaining stable country, and even they aren’t very stable, with immense anti-immigrant problems. I don’t want to provide any spoilers, so I won’t say anything more about the plot other than to note that this movie contains a lot of shooting (so don’t see it if that gives you nightmares) as well as the most intense chase scene I’ve ever watched. The cinematography is astonishingly good, and the whole movie can easily overwhelm you. See it, if you can deal with all that.

Categories: Movies & (occasionally) TV