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September 29 2006

Radio Times reviews Chiwetel's Children of Men. Opens December 25th in the US. Saw this yesterday - it shows a grubby future, seamless CGI, complex human condition messages, an unpredictable plot and several ten minute one shots. I'll go on record and say it's one of the best sci-fi films I've ever seen - my jaw fell off.

Yup, I'd agree with gossi. Really interesting film.
Hmm, saw it last night and I wasn't too impressed with the story. It just felt a little bit flat emotionally to me (despite the best attempts of the swelling soundtrack at various points).

That said, the direction was stunning. As this review says, the way the battle scenes were handled was excellent. Absolutely jarring and yet totally natural seeming. The oners really serve the film (instead of being De Palma style, 'Look a oner !' show-off shots - much as I like De Palma) and pull you right into the action without any artifice and unlike the beautiful (on the surface) 'Minority Report' future the dirt and ennui of 'Children of Men's future England make this one seem (unfortunately) closer to what we may actually have in store.

Even Clive Owen was pretty good. Still a kind of charisma free zone, IMO, but in this instance that works for the part. And Michael Caine was good value, as usual (I think his character was called Jasper Palmer, BTW, maybe a little nod back to the other great British movie spy character of the 60s ?).

All in all, well worth seeing, IMO, I just wish it engaged me a bit more on an emotional level.
I wouldn't go as far as saying it's one of the best sci-fi films of all time, but it is certainly a very well made one and one of the best of the last few years.

[ edited by Andy Dufresne on 2006-09-29 12:58 ]
I really want to see this film
several ten minute one shots

Dang, that's even slower than The Matrix's slow-motion bullets.
They are releasing Children of Men in Australia on the same day as The Fountain, January 25, this will be an extraordinary double feature.
I'm really looking forward to this. I went out and bought the book, which I'd highly recommend.

(Edited for stupid coment. There's nothing more to see here.)

[ edited by XanFan32 on 2006-09-29 16:40 ]
Personally, I'm hoping it will (but worried it won't) be better than the book, which I found very disappointing. I thought it opened terrifically, with a frightening glimpse of a possible future and interesting characters, and then devolved pretty quickly into one big chase scene.

The trailer looks great...but it also makes the film look a lot like one big chase scene...

That they also changed it from all men being sterile to all women being infertile is a little weird.

But still, I'm interested in seeing the film.

[ edited by unreality on 2006-09-29 17:44 ]
I've not read the book, so can't compare. And, in this case, I don't plan to - I don't want to touch the memory of this film.
i've nto read the book either...but i have been told by a friend that the movie's plot was to be drastically altered. anyone read the book and seen the movie care to comment about this?
This seems really great. I'll have to try to see it in theatres when it comes out in the US.
Holy shit. Before today I'd never heard of this movie before. One HD trailer later and I am totally hyped! Could we actually see a good (non-Joss) Sci-Fi movie in out lifetime?

Mind you, I shouldn't get my hopes up. The Final Cut sucked so much I almost fell off my chair, and it had Robin Williams in it.
I agree with you, Saje. The direction of the film is awesome -- but the story has no substance. It impresses so much because its settings are so "close to home", its bleak-looking future seems only a step away from the present, with greetings from "Welcome to Sarajewo" and "28 Days Later" -- but its political background remains far too unclear for it to be really poignant, and once the characters start just dying instead of solving conflicts ... well, it remains an _extremely_ well-done, often breathtaking exercise.
bschnell: Now it definitely sounds like it's faithful to the book.
Quick! Somebody help gossi find his jaw! ;-)

I've been looking forward to this film for a while, based on the trailer. Yay UK folks for getting it first for a change! Totally off-topic, I've been hearing good things about another UK film that hasn't opened anywhere near me (of course, we live in your basic one-Starbucks town) -- has anybody seen The Last King of Scotland (about Idi Amin)?

Well, back to topic, I'm really looking forward to Children of Men, but should this link have a spoiler tag, since it's not open in the States yet and all?
unreality, I haven't read the book, so I couldn't tell. (The comment that in the book it's the men who are infertile made me wonder when it was written, though, because in the day and age of cloning, there should be ways around men as long as there are functioning wombs, no?) I read one PD James, once upon a time, but found it too clumsily written to make it to the end, so the film was my first encounter with this story.
Saje, that is the best short review I think I've ever read. Seriously. Packed with info, despite its size, and about how the movie works in its genre as opposed to compared with Citizen Kane. I wish to subscribe to your newsletter (as they say).

(Edited to remove apostrophe from it's - you know its wrong, people)

[ edited by giles (yes, it is my real name) on 2006-09-29 22:43 ]
In the book both men and women are infertile. I haven't yet seen the film but really enjoyed the book, very thought-provoking. I'd recommend it.
Giles - You're correct in your first and second usage of "its" (possessive), but you're wrong in the last usage. " know its wrong" should be "it's" since "it is" could replace "it's."

I'm a stickler for proper English.

On topic - I'm also looking forward to this movie. I saw the panel for it at Comic-con and it looks fantastic, especially for all the long one-shots.
Cheers giles(yiimrn), glad you found it useful (I was gonna take the vowels out to make it shorter still but that just looked daft ;).

Re: fertility/gender swapping, I may have missed it but i'm pretty sure we don't find out why humanity becomes infertile in the film (i.e. it's not blamed on a particular sex as far as I remember) which probably serves any potential metaphors better anyway.

(as bschnell says, it'd be a fairly huge plot hole if it were men - or, at least, only men - that were infertile since a) we could probably cobble a creature together using two X chromosomes or, to use some technical jargon for a second, produce what scientists call a 'girl' and b) there are hundreds of billions of fertile sperm held frozen in sperm-banks globally which could be used to fertilise pretty much every woman on Earth if required)
Fitz! *glomps you* as fellow grammar cop. And I mean that in the good way.
I remember seeing the trailer earlier this year and thinking it looked amazing. I love Clive Owen. Have since I saw the World War 2/gay drama Bent (and then he was in a smaller, contemporary best-friend-loves-straight-friend drama, but I can't remember the name of that one).

This and The Fountain are my two most anticipated films of the year. And Southland Tales, if it actually makes it out.
OT, but at least this is a film thread. A week or so ago the remake of 3:10 to Yuma was discussed here. Just learned from that Gretchen Mol has been cast as the female lead.
I saw this in London last week and I was blown away by the performances and the direction. I can see how some people might not get emotionally involved, but it connected with me on some primal level so I was sobbing quietly by the end.

There is one moment in particular, towards the end, which took a potentially syrup-laden Hollywood moment and rendered it - however unfortunately - truthful in almost a single frame.

It may have some small flaws, but this is a great film.

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