Monday, January 22, 2007

Killer Flick

I saw a great movie this
weekend. I went and saw href="">Children
Men. A near future science fiction-y movie based on a novel
. Interestingly enough, I read my first P.D. James novel
a few months ago. I read her most recent mystery called href="">The

The movie is set in 2027 and it
impressed me by handling the hardest challenge of a good SF story,
setting the scene without falling back on narration. There is nothing
with narration setting the scene in a science fiction story but these
types of movies work better (like all fiction) when you are shown how
the world works in this instead of being told. Picking up on all those
little hints that the movie supplies is what helps make good SF
rewarding. This movie leaves a lot of information for you to interpret
yourself and I am know I missed a few clues after reading
some reviews of the movie. Newspaper headlines, television newssounbites, advertisements and hints in dialogue and action in the background clue you in to what kind of world the characters live in.

world situation in this movie is dire. There hasn't been a baby born in
about 18 years and most of the world has devolved into violence. The
film is set in an England that is barely hanging on and all immigrants
have been declared illegal and are being sent to camps that turn out to
look more like World War II era Stalingrad than what you would expect
of the United Kingdom in 2027.

Clive Owen plays a government
worker that is sleepwalking through his relatively comfortable but
still dangerous life. London is like the current Baghdad, full of
terrorist bombings and kidnappings. After the movie introduces us to
his world he is approached by an old flame, played by Julianne Moore.
She asks his assistance in helping a refugee get to the coast and
escape the island rather than end up in an internment camp. He does
this mainly so he can get some face to face time with his former

Atmospherically the movie really shines. As you move through this dystopia
it becomes more and more real. The realism comes from a vision that
turns out not to be that outlandish. It's familiar and if you've seen
how people can get into fist fights at the corner gas station when
there is only the threat of a fuel shortage and video footage of
the horror in Iraq then seeing a world as scary and violent as
portrayed in "Children of Men" does not take any suspension of
disbelief. The sets are so realistic in feel that it's a littl eery. This is not the Jetsons or Star Wars. Much like Spielbierg's
"The Minority Report" the world is just different enough to be foreign
but similar enough to be recognizable. It's a little like driving in

And that familiarity is what gives this film's message
incredible power. Here we see a world not all that different from ours.
The world is so polluted that humans are infertile and this has caused
the earth to plummet into bloody anarchy. To me, it's just as
frightening knowing that many of those sitting in power right now
probably understand the urgency of the message in this movie and they
don't care. They got their power and money and they'll ride out the
collapse just fine. It's the rest of us that could be screwed.

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