Like a stone on the surface of a still river
Driving the ripples on forever
Redemption rips through the surface of time
In the cry of a tiny babe
~ Bruce Cockburn
It’s 2027 and Great Britain is the last refuge of a desperate mankind. Eighteen years ago humans became infertile for reasons that are unclear. This world without hope has fallen into chaos. The youngest members of society are revered for their special status and treated like rock stars. The recent murder of the youngest born has pushed society deeper into hopelessness and despair.
People are immigrating to Great Britain in droves, and upon arrival are detained in ghettos. In a world without leaders there are no rules and the immigrants are brutalized and executed at the whim of every jackboot guarding the camps.
Theo Faron (Clive Owen) is the Everyman whom we love to root for at the movies. What makes him so extraordinary is his ordinariness. He's clumsy and halting. He's terrified of every perilous situation in which he's placed. He's fueled by alcohol and cigarettes. He doesn't want to get involved because he just doesn't care about anyone or anything. He is Bizzaro Rambo.
Piecemeal we learn that Theo once had a good life - a beautiful wife, a young son. He was a passionate anti-war protester who had a stake in how his world was run. But now he's just a bored office worker. He lives in a city that resembles Blade Runner's, only not as glamorous. We don't know what he does for a living. He doesn't care. Why should we?
A blast from his past arrives in the form of fiery redhead, Julian (Julianne Moore). She is still a passionate activist, and is helping immigrants through the militant Fish group. She has come to Theo for a favor. She needs travelling papers for a young immigrant girl. Can he help?
Some might be surprised that the movie is based on one of mystery writer P. D. James' books. The Children of Men won a Deo Gloria Award in 1992. In a long list of crime mysteries, The Children of Men and Innocent Blood are the only non-mystery novels James has ever written.
We're left to our own conclusions at the end of Children of Men. There's been a lot of dialogue about the ambiguous ending. I personally like to think that the sounds we hear over the closing credits speak for themselves.
Search the JCLC catalog for more movies by Alfonso Cuaron, Clive Owen and Julianne Moore, and for books and audios by P. D. James.
The Official Website for Children of Men
Children of Men trailer