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(Review originally written at 7 April 2007)

At the beginning of the movie I was quite worried. I thought; Oh no, not another movie about a depressive, cold and ugly looking future, in which a common man grows out to be a hero. For the first 30 minutes it really felt like the movie was heading in that direction. Later the movie starts to take a positive turn when the movie becomes less plot orientated and instead turns into an almost documentary like observation of the events happening in the movie. It helps to give the movie its really realistic feeling.

The strength of the movie is in how how incredible authentic it all looks and feels. It helps to make the movie make a big impact on you. The movie will probably glue you to the screen for at least its last, really impressive looking, final 30 minutes or so. Even despite its weaker more formulaic opening this movie as a whole knows to totally grab you and leave a really lasting and powerful impression. The camera always stays with the main character, which allows us to see the things as he sees them. I really liked this approach, since it made the movie feel really realistic and puts you right in the middle of everything. You really feel that you're a part of this movie while watching it. This works especially great toward the ending of the movie when the action begins and it really starts to feel like you're watching a war-documentary.

The movie features many long shots that at times go on for minutes. This also works great for the movie its realism and it makes sure to grab you and put you right in the middle of things. It provides the movie with some great made and looking moments that are memorable, for sure.

Also of course the visual style of the movie adds to the authentic feel of the movie. The Emmanuel Lubezki cinematography (Oscar nominated, in a great year for cinematography) is most excellent.

The movie subtlety shows 'the future', so no flying cars or ray-guns in this movie. There are only small changes in the future and more subtle things such as the way we talk and society lives with its-, almost as if it has accepted, violence. I also like the way animals play a subtle role in this movie, which use can be interpreted in many different ways and some other small elements and references in the movie that have a deeper meaning in it.

Yes, the future in this movie is dark, depressive and about a hopeless situation but the movie doesn't do anything to exaggerate it. Also again a reason why this movie feels so incredible realistic. I don't necessarily see "Children of Men" as a warning for the future but more as a persons vision of the future, if the world, environment and society goes on living and changing the way it does now. The movie thank goodness does not have a preachy undertone and it doesn't prominently tries to send out a message to its viewers.

And is it me or is Clive Owen getting better with every movie? What I also love about this movie is that it has a couple of other A-list actors in in it (Julianne Moore, Michael Caine) but the movie isn't afraid to treat them like B-list actors.

The movie perfectly incorporate its action into the movie. It shows that director Alfonso Cuarón is top of the game when it comes down to action. The movie has action in it many modern action movies would be jealous of but Cuarón knows to feature its action in an humble way, despite its large scale and complexity, to let the action serve in the service of the movie and its story.

An absolute essential 2006 viewing and one of the year's best.

9/10

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About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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