Magazine article The Spectator

Feel the Fear

Magazine article The Spectator

Feel the Fear

Article excerpt

Children of Men 15, nationwide

My nerves are still a bit jangled from watching Children of Men -- it is rare that a film succeeds in gripping me so totally as this. Alfonso Cuarón (Y tu mamá también, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) has, again, truly impressed me.

As a great director should, he has carefully attended to each aspect of his production and made sure that every last and smallest detail is exactly right. He has pulled off a real triumph; what a pleasure to review such a good film in what is, sadly, my last column.

Children of Men is adapted from P.D.

James's novel and takes place in a near and alarming future. Just two decades from now, the world is ravaged by war and the population is inexplicably infertile. The film begins on the day the youngest person on the planet, an 18-year-old, is shot dead by an angry 'fan'. Great Britain, which has survived by barricading itself against an immigrant invasion, is nonetheless under siege from refugees from disaster zones across the globe. It maintains a system of ruthless deportation. Only the very rich know a kind of security, and even theirs will be short-lived. The population has basically had it, but its final hour is slow in coming. (A suicide drug, Quietus, is advertised and freely given to assist those who want to check out early. ) Theo (Clive Owen) used to be an antigovernment activist, but the death of his son during a flu pandemic in 2008 has killed any desire in him to fight for a future. He is contacted out of the blue by Julian (Julianne Moore), the mother of his dead child, who now leads a rebellious group of dissidents. She asks him, in exchange for £5,000, to obtain transit papers for a girl -- a refugee -- to leave the country in safety. Theo agrees (he can get the papers from a rich cousin) as long as he is allowed to go, too. He wants the money, but a dreg of his former self is undoubtedly stirred into activity by Julian.

Theo and Julian, along with the girl, Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey), and two others, set off across country. They are almost immediately attacked by a band of renegade terrorists and involved in a terrifying battle.

Theo realises that Kee is someone people are prepared to fight and to die for, and he understands why when she shows him that she is eight months pregnant. …

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