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Thursday, March 10, 2011

CHILDREN OF MEN (2006)

Post-Apocalyptic pics are a lot easier to swallow when they show up in action or slapstick form. The more serious your artistic response, the more likely you are to wind up with intellectual egg on your face. So credit Alfonso Cuarón for pulling off as much as he does helming this free adaptation of P. D. James futuristic warning shot. The year is 2027 and, reversing John Boorman’s (unintentionally?) hilarious ZARDOZ/’74, all the woman of the world have gone infertile. The last child was born more than 18 years ago. And in this brave new anarchic world, scruffy Clive Owen finds himself over-his-head , trying to protect the latest hope of humanity, a young, pregnant woman. The picaresque demands of the plot keep us from thinking too much about a plot that makes less & less sense as it goes along, and some of the supporting cast are good company (Michael Caine’s utter professionalism as an aging hippy is inspiring), but the world view is so relentlessly bleak that’s its hard to root for mankind. The film ends up making a nice case for throwing the baby out with the bathwater and letting nature start things all over again. Cuarón may have thought so, too; he hasn’t released a pic in six long years.

SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Hmm. A world where no one is younger than 18. Think how much better the movies would be!

WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: It’s hard to recommend something as looney as ZARDOZ, but try Woody Allen’s SLEEPER/'73 for a comic futurama or George Miller’s MAD MAX 1 or 2/’79,’81 with the young Mel Gibson for action.

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