Thursday, January 04, 2007

Maybe With a Bang and a Whimper

Children of Men

Not a review of Children of Men, the intermittently jaw-dropping and always engaging new movie from Alfonso Cuarón, but a few random thoughts.

First: Michael Caine. The ever lovable Michael Caine plays portrays the moral center of the film, a laid-back dippy hippy type whose appropriately absurdist response to the evils around him is "pull my finger." A line that actually starts out as a joke in the movie later morphs into an astonishing middle finger leveled at the forces of darkness in the world. I won't say how in case you haven't seen the movie, but it's a riveting show of defiance.

On that note, it's interesting to note that though a few folks have claimed Children of Men bears a purely liberal bent, it depicts nasty types operating at both ends of the politcal spectrum. If fact, the movie depicts Theo (Clive Owen's character) as avowedly apolitical, to the point of emphasizing that he hooked up with Julianne Moore's character in their youth for more carnal than constructive means. It's clear that he's prompted to assert a political opinion - prompted to act and not just to grouse and complain - but it's also eminently clear that he's on the run from both sides.

Some other wonderful details: Theo's attire. He spends the first half of the movie with his shirt exactly half untucked, then escapes in muddy socks and later ends up running through a battlefield in ill-fitting flips-flops. Not to forget the fading London 2012 sweatshirt he's wearing by that point, too. For such a morbid flick, it includes a surprising amount of physical humor.

I also loved the little touches of advanced but realistic technology littered though all the rubble and decay.

Children of Men is that rare movie that has only grown in my estimation after I've seen it and allowed it to sink in.

Seven years after the year 2000, the year many people actually feared might be the fulfillment of the End Times, and we're still speaking of the apocalypse. However, perhaps for better reasons now.

Reminds me, I really gotta read Cormac McCarthy's new one, The Road, too.

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