This time, we break down a Children of Men movie review, a dystopian modern classic. With this movie, we discuss how this film takes steadi-cam to a whole new level, we wonder why Great Britain is the only country left standing after global catastrophe, and won’t someone think of the children?! Let’s dig in on Force Fed Sci-Fi!
Children of Men Cast and Crew
Directed by Alfonso Cuaron: Cuaron was beginning to come to the cinematic forefront with his prior film Y Tu Mama Tambien which brought him international acclaim and he was tasked to direct Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban after the previous film released. His Harry Potter also received worldwide critical acclaim with particular attention to the shift in tone for the series and being able to truly capture the spirit of the novels. He was brought onto Children of Men in 2001 and his time spent in the United Kingdom working on Harry Potter gave him unique insight into British society and culture that helps to flush out the look of Children of Men.
Director of Photography, Emmanuel Lubezki: We tend to overlook cinematography on Force Fed Sci-Fi at times, but Lubezki’s contributions to this film cannot be ignored. To briefly summarize, the cinematographer is responsible for everything you see visually on the movie screen in terms of lighting and focus. While working on Children of Men, Lubezki and Cuaron worked together to develop the revolutionary long takes and camera system used in the film and pioneered techniques that are becoming the standard in Hollywood, but more on that later….
Clive Owen as Theo: The early 2000’s were good to Clive Owen. He was a finalist to take over the role of James Bond which ultimately went to Daniel Craig and while Craig’s contribution to the Bond franchise can’t be overstated, we can’t help but wonder what the Bond films would look like if Owen were cast. At this point in 2006, he had appeared in films like The Bourne Identity, King Arthur, Closer, Sin City and Inside Man. He brought a unique cynicism to the character of Theo. He’s playing a man who’s been beaten down by life and has little to no personal connections following the death of his young son and his subsequent divorce from Julian. Looking back at Owen’s career, Children of Men remains a standout from his great resume.
Julianne Moore as Julian: Apart from her role in Evolution, Moore was easily the most high-profile actress to join the cast when she signed on in June 2005 having appeared in films like The Lost World: Jurassic Park, Boogie Nights, The Hours and Hannibal. She brings an emotional depth in the film as she interacts with Theo while balancing her desires to further the cause of the political group she’s leading. In many ways, she’s the only real virtuous individual in the film as everyone else wants to use Kee’s baby for political gains instead of just treating it as a baby.
Michael Caine as Jasper: Caine’s career has too many credits to list off here (briefly talked about in our first film review episode on Inception), but needless to say, he had achieved legendary status at this point in 2006. In the film, Jasper and his wife are living in isolation in the forest, away from the political strife and tumultuous environment of London. In his prior life, he was a political cartoonist and his wife was a photojournalist; however, it’s implied that she was captured and tortured at the hands of MI5, Britain’s domestic intelligence service, and has left her an invalid and doesn’t speak in the course of the film. The implications here are that journalism is either heavily censored or state run and perhaps they’ve become enemies of the state? Regardless, it’s a brilliant bit of characterization that doesn’t require any lines of dialogue to get across.
Supporting Cast Members include:
Chiwetel Ejiofor as Luke
Clare-Hope Ashitey as Kee
Charlie Hunnam as Patric
Pam Ferris as Miriam
Danny Huston as Nigel
Children of Men: Book vs Film