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Children of Men (****)
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón
Written by Alfonso Cuarón, Timothy J. Sexton & David Arata, Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby,
from the novel The Children of Men by P.D. James
Children of Men
Principal Cast
Clive Owen -- Theodore Faron
Julianne Moore -- Julian Taylor
Chiwetel Ejiofor -- Luke
Charlie Hunnam -- Patric
Danny Huston -- Nigel
Claire-Hope Ashitey -- Kee
Peter Mullan -- Syd
Pam Ferris -- Miriam
Michael Caine -- Jasper Palmer
Ratings are based on Rick's four star system.
One star - the commercials are more entertaining than the viewing.
Two stars - watch if you have nothing better to do.
Three stars - good solid entertainment.
Four stars - you never dreamed viewing could be this good.
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rick Norwood

Children of Men is, along with Pirates of the Caribbean, one of the two most entertaining films of 2006. I feared from the previews that it would be a bummer, but it has all the virtues of pulp fiction that Hollywood so often forgets. We care about the people, because they have both character and individuality. The plot makes sense, and throws seemingly insuperable obstacles in the hero's path. And there is a consistent theme that holds the story together.

Why is it that Hollywood, which always produces a very professional product in terms of acting, lighting, cinematography, and music, so often forgets storytelling?

I wonder, though, would the world really fall apart if women stopped having babies? After all, throughout most of the civilized world, a majority of people choose not to have children, and that doesn't seem to bother them. How many men would cheer if they didn't have to worry about knocking women up, if the didn't have to pay child support or pay taxes for public schools, and if they didn't have a younger generation to upset their fixed ideas?

Like V For Vendetta, Children of Men assumes that in the face of world wide disaster, with everything falling apart, Britain will soldier on -- a fascist Britain, true, but Britain nonetheless.

Some of the problems the film doesn't address: without young people, where will big business find cheap labor? Who will take care of the elderly? And if the world has fallen apart, where does the oil come from? But, then, even a science fiction movie can't consider all the aspects of major social change.

Certainly, the film stresses the unspeakable suffering that humans will inflict on other humans if civilization does break down. We know this will happen, because we read history. We know that when things get bad, people always make them worse.

Children of Men is a story of civilization falling apart. There was a letter in today's local newspaper decrying the downfall of America. American values, the letter writer says, cannot survive the influx of non-Christians, Mexicans, and other foreigners. Replace Mexicans with Irish and the letter could easily have been written a hundred years ago. It would be impossible to convince the letter writer that if this beautiful, fragile, precious, and rare thing called civilization does fall apart, it will not be because of "foreigners," but because of people like himself, people filled with fear and hate toward anyone who is different.

Copyright © 2007 Rick Norwood

Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon.

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