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Children of Men More at IMDbPro »

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12 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

Who? What? Where? WHY?

Author: icarustraveler from United States
24 July 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Having read 10 pages of reviews, the plot (what there is of it) has thoroughly been described. So, I'll skip straight to what's terrible about this film. When writing even a newspaper article, you're supposed to explain: who, what, when, where, how and why. In 2 hours of running time, this film barely explains any of these. Instead, the 2 hours are packed with mostly gratuitous violence. When any explanation is given, the soundtrack is so bad, the accent so thick, that even my British husband couldn't understand what was being said.

What isn't explained: Why women can't have children. Why no one cares who the father of the baby is. Why the "fish" need the baby to serve their purpose, or even what that purpose ultimately is. Why Julian is killed. Why immigrants are treated so badly, when there's zero natural population growth. Why young people stand around throwing rocks at trains and cars. What the Human Project is, and why it's the only hope for saving the baby, especially since it may not even exist. Why it's assumed that every other option is so much more dangerous, that it's preferable to put the mother and baby in the middle of a filthy, violent, unstable immigrant camp. Why they had to be arrested, go to the camp and risk their lives to get a rowboat. Why no one took the mother and baby into custody as they were walking through a crowd of soldiers. Why the unexplained birth of one single, female baby will "save the world" when taken in by the mysterious, mythical Human Project. But, again, plenty of time for random shooting, killing and gore.

Even smaller plot points were annoying. Why have Jasper telling his stupid fart joke repeatedly, as he's getting killed? Why is there a pile of cow carcasses burning in a field? And do they really expect us to believe that the "heros" can escape from the "fish" when they're making all kinds of noise, up to within a few feet of the guards, in a car that won't even start? Even the cover of Ruby Tuesday was horrible. Believe it or not, I could keep going. I'm not the smartest or most sophisticated film viewer, but I know when a movie is too smart for me and over my head. This one isn't. It's just tissue paper thin, lazy, insulting and sloppy. The only reason I gave it 2 stars is because the cinematography is good.

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12 out of 18 people found the following review useful:

It Had Potential to be More About Ideas

Author: he_who_leads from Sydney, Australia
17 June 2007

The year is 2027 and no one has had a kid since 2009. Consequently, the human race is doomed. Emotions are running high and everywhere the world is falling apart. Conflict, despair, chaos and decay are everywhere. The premise is introduced very well as everywhere people are mourning the death of the world's youngest person - watching the future disappear before their eyes.

This film does convey the look and feel of the above quite well through credible character exchanges and technical work. However, the film's potential is hampered by the story - Theo (Clive Owen) trying to secretly transport a miraculously pregnant woman to the shadowy 'The Human Project,' who they have to trust have her best interests at heart as opposed to the openly brutal and corrupt government. Because all of this has to be hidden from the public's eye, the film's potential to explore this extraordinary development is limited to speculation by the small band of people who come to know that the girl is pregnant. So while the decaying world is continually depicted credibly, the film can't really grow and thematically build on its premise.

So the film mainly becomes a chase film - trying to transport the girl somewhere while avoiding detection from all sides. This takes away from the uniqueness of the premise and makes the film seem more routine than it should have been. I have to say, though, that the last 30 minutes is quite thrilling as the stakes have been raised so much. The camera following the progress of Theo through the torn-up streets as bullets fly everywhere is a gripping. But for those who want to see this film with the purpose of having grand philosophical discussions afterwards, you'll probably come out disappointed. The film does have things to say, but could have been more.

Finally, a couple of things deserve a special mention. The cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki is just outstanding as he throws everything in the book at you - constantly inventive camera work, smoke, light, shade, saturation - so that many of the scenes you just want to frame on your wall. Also, a recurring musical theme from John Tavener's 'Fragments of a Prayer' is also very memorable and fits well.

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16 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Perhaps the most overrated film of 2006

Author: dsmyth-3 from United States
15 October 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

OK, I give up. What was it that everybody liked about this film? The story is pathetic and seems like something that somebody drew up in twenty minutes, the characters are all pretty dull and the ones that are interesting are only so because they are so stupid that they are funny. Yeah, there was one huge continuous shot at the end of the movie with Clive Owen running around. So what? How does that even come close to making a good movie? It's a guy running for ten minutes. It shouldn't matter whether it was one shot or if it was broken up, it's still boring as hell. In fact, most of this movie was people walking or running. Where is Randall from Clerks II when you need him? We have people walking and nothing even close to a plot. Is there a purpose to this movie? Some moral at the end? The best I can come up with is "Don't go to war if chicks randomly stop giving birth for absolutely no reason." You know, I'm pretty sure we already had a movie about the world going to hell and Britain still kind of holding it together. It was called V For Vendetta, and it didn't completely suck. A movie based on a comic book made more sense and was more coherent than this piece of crap. What does that tell you? There was only one good thing about this film: Julianne Moore got shot in the face before the rest of this movie destroyed what little is left of her career. It's a good thing Michael Caine has The Dark Night coming up this summer so that he won't be ruined by this crap too.

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16 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Highly over -rated

Author: hesketh27 from Southport Lancashire Uk
22 July 2007

I saw the cinema trailer for this film last year and I must admit that it did not really appeal to me. Why did I see it then? Well, I got it from the DVD rental club, purely because it was a newish film and I had seen good reviews of it. Give it a go I thought. I really wish I hadn't. Firstly, it is unrelentingly dark and depressing, then incoherent and very difficult to follow. It is practically impossible to empathise with any of the badly drawn characters. Clive Owen once again proves that he is not up to big screen roles (- don't get me wrong, he's fine on TV but simply can't cut it in films). Basically, it's pretty shambolic. I can't believe the glowing reviews from critics (and many people on IMDb). I'm so glad that I scrolled down and found some other reviewers who think the same way as me regarding this mess, I was beginning to think it was just me who hated it.

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27 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

really, really bad - SPOILER

Author: lior_pinsky from NY NY
10 June 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

i really don't get why everybody in this forum thinks this is a great movie. it clearly isn't.

most of the acting is people babbling in a foreign language, the plot makes no sense and the film is too confusing.

the sci-fi is poor: 1) cars are barely better than today (2007), 20 years on. 2) guns are barely better than today 3) tvs are barely better than today

if you gonna do sci-fi, get a decent budget to do a good job.

simply horrible.

i have to admit that when i saw the trailer I was very curious to see the movie, and it couldn't have been worse.

i wonder whether the reviewers giving this movie 10 stars were on the strawberry cough that is shown through the movie?

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45 out of 84 people found the following review useful:

Is someone fabricating reviews?

Author: orbit66 from United Kingdom
20 January 2007

This film is rated over 8 here, so I watched expecting to see something at least worth my time. But no, all I got was a familiar feeling of being set up. Children Of Men is basically a mess. Surely it's worst issue is the script and storyline. It just doesn't go anywhere. I struggled to follow the dialogue and make some sense of where all this apocalypse and mud was heading. It headed nowhere. I can't spoil the ending because there isn't one really! What you see is just like a montage of scenes strung together. The middle section of a story. The only positive was the soundtrack. Hate to say it, but here we have just another low budget UK stinker.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:


Author: pete from england
27 April 2010

I think that your opinion of this film is going to greatly depend on your expectations beforehand. It seems that a lot of people went to see this film not expecting much and were pleasantly surprised by its intelligence and non-derivative execution.

However, having seen that this film was in the IMDb top 250 I came to it with somewhat higher hopes and came away slightly let down.

The plot is fine in so far as it goes and there are some nicely done set pieces - the giant shoot out among the street ruins is particularly impressive and realistic - but really the only outstanding performance is from Michael Caine. I don't remember a great deal about what the main characters motivations were and that doesn't say much for the strength of either the plot or the cast.

For me the most enjoyable section of the movie was in Jaspar's (Michael Caine's) house - there was some strong acting here and some humorous and effective scenes. But beyond that, I think that people who rate this film highly are doing it because they are impressed by the director's bleak and believable presentation of an anarchic future for mankind.

I concede that it is well done - but I don't believe that the plot or the acting match the strength of the visuals.

I don't think that this is a film I would watch again and that tells me that it is not deserving of its current ranking as a classic. I would rate it as above average - an interesting concept, nicely brought to the screen but with not enough depth to really draw me in.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Again a Clive Owen disappointment...

Author: ardenners from South West England
14 March 2010

Having read a lot of the reviews of this film, which were fairly glowing in their content,I decided,against my usual judgement, to watch it. The look of the film is good as is some of the plot and music, however the acting of the main characters and a lot of the script is weak. You could tell it was a British film because of the times the f word was uttered...I counted 20 times in about 5 minutes at one point, this is just sloppy,lazy directing and for me detracted from the story. There are many more adjectives in the English language.

In essence this film could have been great but alas it's just OK with the second half being more accomplished than the first.

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Boredom of an Audience

Author: jefsof-2 from United States
21 February 2010

This is yet another of those films that draws the dividing line between the pretentious film fan and also a generational one between GenX/GenY and everyone else.

As an older Xer I don't buy into the snarky poseur mentality of most of my generation (and those that came after and can't even do that well) and this film is a perfect example of what crap is celebrated as art.

The film is a dud - like a bomb that doesn't go off it just lays there - like a bad lover who can't perform. It moves slow, it's ugly to look at, what's-his-name-lead-actor-Brit smirks his way through half of it (you're just waiting for him to crack wise and break character) and this whole predilection Xers and Ys have with the browns and greys and the blah of the 70s aesthetic is showcased in the production design - sigh.

Lousy pacing, cartoonish characters, a pedestrian plot, and a simply awful and cheap look to the thing.

Watch Zardoz and see what this film wishes it could have even been half of.

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8 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Says nothing

Author: Ang L from United States
16 February 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Children of Men is about a future in which the human race has lost the ability to reproduce and beyond that doesn't develop any further. The movie tries to ride high on a "profound" premise but it never comes together with anything to say about that premise.

It has been 20 years since the last baby was born and the human race is desperate. The semi-orewllian future is well realized and believable but there is no reason given to why the world has fallen into chaos. A young woman, Kee, is secretly pregnant and people are trying to use her for unknown political reasons. Basically this is where the whole plot comes apart. The movie becomes an action movie and escape from the omnipresent bad guys and that's it.

Kee, the pregnant woman, might as well just be cargo that needs to be transported. Even her being called Kee sort of cheapens the plot - Kee as in she is the key to the future. There is no reason for why she was so special to get pregnant or what might have changed that allowed her to do so. There is also no profound idea given in that maybe what's special about her is that she isn't special at all. The movie can't manage to say anything.

This is an action movie that is a blank. Just action with a good premise that is never realized. The movie says nothing and doesn't have much of a plot other than random action scenes in which Clive Owen is transporting his cargo. The visuals do make it entertaining but that's it. I think the premise of the movie and the visuals of a bleak future are a smokescreen for a plot and a message and the only reason why anyone actually thinks this movie is good. Entertaining to watch but completely forgettable.

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