Children of Men

I’m not going to make a habit of posting film reviews on the Don’t Look Down blog. This is afterall for notes from the fiction front. And yes, film is fiction. And yes, I do like films but they just are not the thing this blog is about.

But I really want to shout about Children of Men. Its fucking fantastic…which is a notch above fucking amazing…in turn itself a notch above fucking great. This meaning I think its about as good as films get.

Clive Owen plays a fantastic loser-who-was-once-a-hero character. Of course, he ends up a hero again, a kid gets born, people we care about a lot end up dead. Its a great story, exceptionaly well told but thats not what impressed me the most.

The first uniquely important thing about the film is how well it integrates such visceral special effects into that story. It will  probably be marked down as the first film to take inspiration from video games, and anyone who has played Half-Life 2 will see exactly where and when. So not entirely orginal then but it uses it stolen material to good purpose.

The second and more imporatnt thing it will be remebered as is the first filmic depiction of the civil war in Iraq. The final half hour of the movie documents an armed conflict between a highly armed Western miltary force, Islamic militants and numerous other rebel groups each pursuing their own agenda. If you were wondering what it is you aren’t seeing in the evening news each night, then the climax of Children of Men is as close as you will get to seeing it without going there yourself.

And like all the best science fiction, Children of Men isn’t about the future, its about today. The film collapses the current global political situation into one country, our country, with London as the Western world and Bexhill as the Middle East. All the grusome fictional deaths depicted in the film are happening for real soemwhere else in the world right now. Its a sad story, and we are all living it.

Published by Damien Walter

Writer and storyteller. Contributor to The Guardian, Independent, BBC, Wired, Buzzfeed and Aeon magazine. Special forces librarian (retired). Teaches the Rhetoric of Story to over 35,000 students worldwide.


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