Children of Men (2006)
Reviewed on 2009 February 6
When I sit down to watch a movie, I always try to be open-minded, but this thing irritated me so much I could barely finish it. Really, the only thing I liked about it was the soundtrack — I don’t recall ever hearing King Crimson in a movie before and hearing “In the Court of the Crimson King” got my hopes up for something really interesting — but for the most part the movie just annoyed me. I know this is based on the novel of the same name, one which I honestly didn’t read yet, but this just didn’t translate well. Watching the movie made it seem as if someone smoked some stuff without washing the acid rain off first, and decided it would be a great idea to combine 1984 with the Nativity story.
Theo (Clive Owen) is an ex-activist in 2027 England, pretty much the only nation left more or less intact after a flu epidemic. That’s not saying much; had Orwell lived in this England he’d have given up, gotten an Emo haircut, and thrown himself out a window. The flu presumably did a number on fertility too. We never learn the precise cause here, but no woman has given birth in almost two decades. You’d think the BBC would be wetting themselves over this, but the main feature is… illegal immigration, and that’s a gripe I’ll get to in a minute. We never learn much about Theo except he seems to like Bells, and that’s a pity, because he’s the only marginally likable character here. We do know he works or worked for some shadowy agency called the Human Project, and his ex-flame Julian (Julianne Moore, playing a real sweetheart here) recruits him to help a young woman: Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey). We learn that Kee is not only pregnant, but the activists are no better than the government — they want the baby as a political football too. Theo has no choice but to get her someplace safe.
I admit, the premise is very interesting. That’s probably why I was so disappointed. The first problem is that the characters were so flat and annoying that my Give-A-Crapometer™ couldn’t get out of idle. It tried to be oh-so-now that the script itself seemed naggy. I mean, here’s Kee, about to have a baby, and she still has time to get in a PETA-style dig. The other thing that annoyed me was the underlying theme that if we want to regulate immigration — if we want to know to whom we give citizenship in an effort to screen out terrorists — we’re a bunch of goose-stepping fascist pigs. Beyond that, the plot just meandered. The activists just drifted in and out of the story like the tides, but we’re supposed to overlook that for the message. I tried to give this a morsel because of the music and the use of the Pink Floyd pig, but eh, I can’t.
Bad movie! No morsel for you.