full5  The composition and appearance of “Children of Men” is immediately noticed and not soon forgotten… from its gritty realism, to its mind-blowing long takes with their flawless precision. “Children of Men” has a gritty and subtle tone that just plain WORKS.  The film starts with a BANG and never lets up.  The director, Alfonso Cuarón has found a way to tell a great story with a wonderful formula. Characters of all kinds are put on display, from zealous Christians, and mindless workers…to art lovers, and pot smoking rebels.  All kinds of characters are introduced and we the viewers are allowed to connect with whomever we choose.

         This movie doesn’t waste its time with a narrated intro or in-depth text explaining what has happened to this world and why its inhabitants are living in such squalor.  Instead, it throws you right into the society and makes you one of its inhabitants.  We watch the story unfold from the same down-to-earth realism as Theo.  We are just as scared, unsure, and surprised by all of the occurrences as the characters in the movie…in fact, our ears even ring along with Theo for many scenes.  This is one of the best parts of “Children of Men”, its ability to make us feel as if we are a part of this broken world.  The back-story is not spoon-fed to us. Instead, it is slowly uncovered by subtle hints from characters, newspaper clippings, and even jokes.  The hints are subtle… but they are there.  Because of this, the movie can be enjoyed on many levels…whether the viewer takes time to examine the history and politics of the society, or simply for its visually stunning appearance.

         The long shots in this movie are stunning to say the least, and deserve numerous viewings. The long shots are not merely used to gain attention by film buffs… they add a sense of the unrehearsed spontaneity of real life.  They add tension and suspense to the movie… while never giving the audience a chance to catch our breaths.  Even Theo hardly has an opportunity to relax and reflect… he is only given a few fleeting seconds now and again to accept what is happening, then quickly has to dive right back into the action.

            Theo is doing all of these because he realizes the power he has to change history…  Theo needs the money, but it quickly becomes much much more than that.  This adventure takes everything he has… and gives back nothing. Once Theo has lost everything and everyone, he finally breaks and asks “Tell me the reasoning now…”  This is when reality hits Theo, he may be destroyed by this quest, but he needs to do all he can to save the future of mankind. In his talk with Nigel the art collector, Theo asks, “A hundred years from now, there won’t be one sad fuck to look at any of this… What keeps you going?”  To which, Nigel responds,  “You know what it is… I just don’t think about it.”  Thankfully for humanity, Theo doesn’t share the same view.

         Even under all the pressure,  Theo quickly realizes the story isn’t about him… it has always been about this young child who will hold the world in her hands.  As soon as the child makes her way into the world, people take notice.  The landscape becomes quiet, soldiers and rebels hold their fire, the wounded and scared reach to touch the child, and crowds part to let Theo and Kee pass.  This is the hope the world has been waiting for.  We are left with what everyone else in the world is left with…hope. The last sounds of the movie answer all the questions and doubts we had… listen hard, the world has been saved.

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