Sunday, February 04, 2007

2006: The year that sucked review.. #7

Surprisingly, I'm back within relatively short time to continue this list; and I swear, it'll be finished before the end of February. And happily, this film review actually comes in a time where people can still SEE the film in theatres; so read and go.

This film came out in 2006 in England... which is when and where I saw it in early November. Course, it came out in screens here around the end of December, but there's still some showings of it kicking around.

As fate would have it, I'd seen the director's last Mexican release, Y Tu Mama Tambien. And while that film is confusing and excellent, Alfonso Cuaron's 2006 title Children of Men accompanies some unbelievable visuals with a relatively strong storyline.

Now we've all seen the promos; no more children are being born, the world has descended into chaos. Clive Owen happens upon a pregnant girl. However, the way the story lays out is unbelievably realistic - there's a series of believable landscapes and plausible action sequences, coupled with a spectacular artistic flare.

For me, the most memorable scene in the film is where Theo (Owen) and Kee (Ashitey) are trying to escape to the docks, and are running through a war-torn cityscape. I'm not sure how long the shot is, but it's basically done entirely in one shot. The camera follows the two around as they run for cover, armies exchanging fire, and the capping moment is when the tank rolls by and you see it fire into the building. Fantastic.

But a lot of the action that happens is genuinely believable. The characters are faced with ridiculous odds and they don't have the kind of training it takes to defend themselves like we see in so many crappy Hollywood movies (where they magically have the skills to do anything they need to survive). Instead, you see fairly comical representations of defense, including shoving, car doors to the face, and uncertainty in times of crisis.

Although the list of people Theo ends up meeting is mind-boggling and it's hard to remember all the names that flash by on the screen, it still feels real. I suppose I can relate, because I see a situation like that descending pretty much as it happens in the film, so a lot of the action fits my own mental representation (i.e: me saying "Yeah, that'd probably happen").

Add in the odd humour that sprinkles around the film, and the crushing depression/awe of awesomeness, and you've got a solid film. This film really marks the start of the strong films on the countdown. Apart from #1, 2-6 are very tightly matched. In some ways, Children of Men deserves a higher rank - but gandering at my list I can see why it didn't. But if you're curious, definitely check it out. You'll leave the theatre feeling satisfied.

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