Sunday, April 1, 2007

Children of Men, a review of Sorts

T. and I went last night to the Academy Theater to see a cheap movie. I love Portland's beer theaters. We chose Children of Men, as I'd heard good things about it.

I can suggest the movie, although finding things to comment on about it is challenging to me right now. I will say that it's tight, well shot, and well acted.

Maybe I should back up -- the first characteristic of this movie, and you should know this going in -- is that it's really dark. It's a dystopia set in the near-future, and many of the images are intense and startling. There are many images of war, of bombings (people walking around holding on to their own limbs), and of personal violence. But it's not gratuitous, it's just the state of the world they are presenting.

Little things sway me about movies, and the consistency and attention to detail of the setting in this movie really caught my eye. I'm quite sure if you were the type, you could see this movie 3-4 times, just watching for interesting and revealing details in the background of the shots, and be satisfied every time. The director and art team worked their butts off, and it shows. There are direct and stark images that will flash you back to Abu Ghraib -- like they are setting up re-enactments. There is, on the other hand, a shot where they give a complex and interesting back story to a new set of characters by simply panning across a vanity in a bedroom -- knick knacks, family pictures, vintage brushes and scissors -- it's mesmerizing.

Ok keep this short Bpaul -- so yes I suggest the movie. On a scale -- lets use grades since I'm in school -- I'd say B+. I especially suggest it if you are a movie buff type who loves to pick out relevant details and pay attention to the cinematography as you watch a film. One criticism I could posit is that the story itself is simple, almost so simple as to be flat. Neither T. nor I are quite sure what we came away with afterwards, but sleeping on it didn't answer that question for me so I figured I'd just let it go, write this up, and see what ya'll have to say.

10 comments:

Shocho said...

Nice review! I've been interested in this flick and I do like the movie stuff about movies, so I think I better catch it. Thanks.

Bpaul said...

Thank you sir.

I'll be curious to see what you think. Report back if you get a chance.

Ted and Suz said...

Yes one of my favourites for the year. Dark as you said but also very true to story and moving in parts. I can't help but think that the Mexican ethic of the director is represented here even though it is set in Britain.

Bpaul said...

UNCLE TED!!! *points*

Good point actually. What would you say is a "Mexican ethic" -- a perspective from a 3rd world perspective I assume.

The more I think about this movie the better I realize it is.

Tate said...

We loved this movie, very chaotic in some scenes to me, but also very intense. I have a few favorite scenes, but will say nothing so i do not ruin it for anyone.
I do love the commercial that is seen on billboards in the background and on tv a lt....

Bpaul said...

Bah tate, it cut you off. You were saying you loved the commercial....

go on :-)

Ted said...

Well by Mexican ethic I meant the sense of family, religion, loyalty, "heart"(?)

I also noticed it (or maybe read it into) the other two movies from the three amigos, El Laberinto del fauno (Pan's Labyrinth) and Babel.

Bpaul said...

Glad I asked -- yeah I can see what you are saying. Huge family influence in those movies. Very central to the theme.

I was looking more at the immigration issues and how it was a huge part of the oppression in the movie. Very logical, if extreme, progression from the sentiments currently floating around the U.S. and elsewhere.

Ted said...

Yes of course the immigration both in Children of Men and Babel. But I also got a "It's OK to care about your fellow man" feeling in all these movies which is typically absent from Hollywood fare with its emphasis on individuality.

Am I starting to sound like an ex-pat yet? ;-)

Bpaul said...

LOL yes