Children of Men (2006)

Chris gave me permission to post some of his comments about this film. I thought I had written comments, but I can’t find it. Anyway, here are Chris’ comments:

(spoilers)

I went to it with a fair amount of hype, yet I was skeptical that I would LOVE it — the premise didn’t do anything for me as I thought about it. But what I found was an enormously well-plotted, well-acted, unusual story. And the premise *really* got to me: I think on a Darwinian level (what’s the point if the species dies out) and a Christian spirituality/worldview level as well (sort of pro-life, the image of Christ is more acutely visible in children and what if there were no more children?). So, that really got under my skin. And so did the police-state immdigration thing as well: wouldn’t most countries go that direction given the stresses being endured? But on top of this, isn’t the life of the refugees in that movie pretty much like the lives of millions of people in the world already where the world is at its worst? This doesn’t make the movie so good (even as it rang true for me as I watched it), but the portrayal was so deft, the sentimentality was kept to almost nothing, there was no overacting and the arcs of the characters was pretty unpredicatable. The hero performed one act of violence — bonking that freaky cop on the head with the brick. Just managing to survive and dodge bullets in other peoples’ conflicts was his role as he woke up to some hope that something he could do would actually matter in life. Waking up and caring as heroism. The reluctant hero archetype has a lot of power for me.

Also, the music/soundtrack was brilliant, the sets and art direction were unreal.

In the theater, I was pretty overwhelmed emotionally (I am glad I saw it on the big screen first). At the end of the long-take scene (which blows away any similar effort I can remember), which Theo walks down the stairs with the baby and Kee, I nearly almost lost it — not just crying, which I do a fair bit of in films, either out of appreciation or joy or sadness — but I almost started loudly sobbing. Same thing when I saw the video. Once again, not a measure of the films greatness per se, but I will say that the construction of the film, the proficiency of the performances, and the thematic currents within it concoct a very potent brew. That scene managed to convey grace and stillness in a way that was highly gritty, worldly, and spiritually true-feeling.

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