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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Children of Men 

Children of Men is as glum and humorless as its setting, a slowly decaying near-future where no child has been born in 18 years. It is also not subtle; the miracle woman with a miracle pregnancy, sort of a McGuffin with dialogue, is named Kee (as in “Key"), and the ship that will take her to the saviors at the Human Project is called the Tomorrow.

If this were a more allegorical movie, given to potent symbolism and broad strokes of human behavior, that would be one thing. But Children of Men is so dreary that it’s hard to care what any of the characters do. Even their instinct to survive is carried out as if by rote, rather than by passion. Unbroken shots of neighborhoods under siege that might otherwise exhilirating, or at least involving, then become merely a study in directing technique without any sense of dire urgency. Is it a success or a failure when a film creates an atmosphere of grim resignation so complete that the audience feels it, too?

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