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Movie Review: Children of Men

Alternate Title: The End is Near

Story: It was an interesting marketing choice to release this bleak view of an apocalyptic future on Christmas Day.

Director Alfonso Cuarón has a lot to say about the human condition and hopes for the future in this cautionary tale based on the novel by P.D. James with a screenplay by Alfonso Cuarón, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Hawk Ostby and Mark Fergus.

It is 2027 and the world is in free fall. The human race has lost its ability to reproduce because women are sterile. In the 18 years since the last child was born humans seem to have also lost their humanity. Governments have collapsed, anarchy is everywhere and terrorist bombings are commonplace. There is no law, no order, no hope and there is no future.

We find ourselves in a gray, broken down London, now ruled by a dictatorship that rounds up, jails and deports all foreigners. It is also a government that encourages suicide. Rival factions of underground movements want to take control and rise up. As the film progresses we find that there are no heroes, no good guys - just groups that want to take control.

A glimmer of hope is found when a young woman turns up pregnant. The film becomes a thriller, chase movie as our reluctant hero tries to help her get out of the country into the hands of a group called Project Hope. Does this group really exist? Can it work? Is mankind salvageable?

The cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki is nothing short of genius. He gives us a vision of a world gone to hell.

I was gripped from the opening scenes until the closing credits. It is an exhausting, intense, dark view of us as a species. If you can muster the strength to go see this film I guarantee you will have quite a movie (and moving) experience. You may not like how we look as the mirror can be very cruel.

Acting: Clive Owen is close to the top of my favorites list. He gets better and better with each film and in this one - he is genius. Claire-Hope Ashitey as the pregnant woman is terrific. The supporting ensemble cast are all great too, including, Julianne Moore, Michael Caine, Chiwetel Ejiofore, Pam Ferris, Danny Huston and Peter Mullan.

Predilection: I like Clive Owen and I like films that make me think.

Critters: There does not seem to be a sterility problem in the animal kingdom. We see lots of dogs, cats, horses, cattle, sheep and birds.

Food: There was little food to eat.

Soundtrack: A fine stirring soundtrack

Opening Titles: All of the credits are at the end.

Visual Art: One Englishman was taking it upon himself to try to find masterpieces before they would be destroyed. We see the David statue and La Guernica.

Theater Audience: It was a full house on this Christmas Day. I guess not everyone was going to see Dreamgirls.

Sappy Factor: Ha!

Quirky Meter: 0

Squirm Scale: The future looks very squirmy.

Drift Factor: No time to drift. Too much action.

Predictability Level: I was hopeful - but not sure what was going to happen.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Yes. I would like to see Clive Owen get a nod.

Big Screen or Rental: This film demands the big screen. Clive Owen is great. Here are some of his other films for you to rent: Sin City, Inside Man, Closer, King Arthur, The Bourne Identity, Gosford Park, Greenfingers and the fabulous Croupier.

Length: 100 gripping minutes