Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Top Ten Films of the Decade, 2000-2009: #5

#5. CHILDREN OF MEN (Alfonso Cuarón, 2006, UK) The near future is a stillborn world of violence and decay, Homo Inferior’s legacy fear in a handful of dust. Through the abattoirs of arid wastelands and across infertile political boundaries, the human race nears its end with a crashing roar: but hope is reborn in a tiny form, a savior’s gentle repose in filth and ruin, where a mother’s love conquers all. Director Alfonso Cuarón’s film is a prescient prophecy concerning our future where religion and geocentric politics, racism and intolerance are the basis for laws and insipid beliefs, and the threat of annihilation comes from this crumbling moral foundation. This science fiction dystopian narrative evokes George Orwell, Aldous Huxley and Philip K. Dick, their visions of Police States governed by the use of brutal injustice and extolling drug use for population control. Cuarón wastes no time on exposition and utilizes a mundane action film structure, but elevates the story to allegorical proportions. The attention to detail is exceptional as every digital billboard and television commercial, barking background advertisement and newspaper, concentration camp and dilapidated flat, buses loaded with pallid refugees whose vacant eyes reflect a last generation, compounds the narrative and makes this future age seem not only alive and believable…but very probable. Primary colors are suppressed, creating a hazy grim world where the presence of children are dead echoes, like a coloring book of corpses utilizing only grey and black Crayons. The nuanced sound also permeates this poisoned atmosphere, from the choking streets of London to the staccato gunfire of revolution; the disparate music seems to evoke some lost legacy of freedom and peace, to remind us of a world that once existed…or should have. Alfonso Cuarón’s technical brilliance is evident in two wonderful tracking shots: the first uses a 360-degree shot inside Theo’s car during a violent ambush, and the other as he crawls through the detritus and rocket’s red glare to bring Kee and the infant back towards the land of the living. These battle scenes are starkly realistic, rising to the brilliance of Spielberg’s Omaha Beach sequence in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN. Finally in the vaporous mystery of a whispering sea, once again Dylan brings hope for another Tomorrow. Shanti shanti shanti. (A)

1 comment:

d.francis said...

This was such a great film.
I purchased the DVD and have watched
it several times.

Two films I have yet to see (both of
which I read the novels and loved)in
this same genre are The Road and Blindness.