Tuesday, May 01, 2007

"The Children of Men" -- a review: The more I thought about "Children of Men" the more I loved it. The DVD discussion by the director and others certainly helped to get a clearer understanding of the director's intent. It is a supremely Orwellian film, bleak and violent, which had much to say about the nature of man and culture. It is a film that begs for discussion. The somewhat simple story of the film cannot be divorced from the complexity of its landscape. Each would be nothing without the other and special attention should be paid to the movie's setting.

The movie takes place in the not-too-distant future making technological chaos a part of its surroundings. It centers on the world's inability to generate children, its lack of ability to understand why and the consequences this has for the disintegration of population, culture, history and life itself. The bleak surroundings of decay are omnipresent. It is testament, I think, to what happens when constant war and anarchy prevail. Society deconstructs. In society's vain attempt to perpetuate and sustain itself through repressive force it does neither. Stability is always elusive. One social and political philosophy is like another and the only thing left for the state to do is to perpetuate its media driven lies in some withering attempt to maintain order through tyranny. No one has the answer even though some think they do. The less powerful, of course, succumb to the Darwinian forces of nature. It is dinosaurian. If one force doesn't kill there is always another right around the corner which will. There is no rhyme or reason to it all. Humanity is prostrate before forces no one can control and man is at the mercy of other men and fate itself.

This movie poses many interrogatives. What happens to human society when biological or socially catastrophic events interfere with the natural orderly progression of life? How do humans adapt and survive or can they adapt at all? What happens when chaos reigns and people are in a constant state of war and anarchy? If social conflict is perpetual are human beings inclined toward constructing a totalitarian state? Who suffers and why? Is utopia a possibility ... ever? Is there hope?

This film, I thought, was phenomenally relevant to the world in which we find ourselves. Perhaps, it is a film for all seasons as well. It could apply to Nazi Germany to Bosnia, to Lebanon, Darfur and most certainly to Iraq or, indeed, to any place which is prey to biological and other catastrophic events which give rise to chaos. The author perceptively places this film in Britain. I think this says it could apply to western culture as well IF we do not stop those forces which are brewing a perfect storm of biological catastrophe and social fracture. The very survival of life as we know it on our planet is at stake.

This film, although it is quite starkly bleak, does offer some hope through the only woman in the world who is pregnant. Amid this primordial social ooze and against all odds she attempts, with the help of one man, to save her infant’s life. One must be patient and wait to see if there is an ultimate ray of light at the end of the tunnel. I recommend this film highly to those who want entertainment through serious thought provoking art.