Children Of Men (2006)

(In theaters, January 2007) For a Science-Fiction fan, this film is a bit of a mess: The science is implausible, the background details are badly integrated with the world, and the structure feels off, especially toward the end. But this is a great film despite its weak SF elements. From a directorial standpoint, Children Of Men is a tour de force, combining savvy film-making with extraordinary visuals. At least three long continuous shots bring back some of that old “how did they do that?” magic while doing a tremendous job at drawing us into the story. Clive Owen is a solid protagonist, but everyone else holds their own in a finely crafted film. It’s a shame, though, that the extrapolation is so weak: The sterility problems are too sudden, too all-encompassing (and don’t hold your breath for an explanation, because it’s not that kind of film) to be credible, and elements of the technology shown in the film seem inconsistent with each other, not to mention difficult to reconcile with the “we don’t know why everyone’s sterile” statement. Oh well; at least the film is far better than the book when it comes to its SF elements, for which we can only be thankful. (And it’s hardly alone in being a “good SF movie” despite weak SF elements: In 2006, only A Scanner Darkly and The Prestige also earn that distinction.) Cinematic dynamite: don’t miss it.

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