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Children of Man, Essay Example

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Words: 1322

Essay

The elements of the movie Children of Men were placed together seamlessly. From the choice of sounds and music to the movements and lighting; it’s easy to become captivated by the film. However, there are also some elements that the film lacks. It can even be argued that it’s almost impossible to understand the film without first reading the original novel by P.D. James.

The film Children of Men was released in the U.S. and the UK in late 2006. It was based on the novel by P.D. James – though some important elements were changed in the film adaptation. For example, in the book the infertility issue is with the males and in the movie it is the females who are suffering from infertility.

Plot Summary

The movie describes a world that is plagued by widespread infertility. In the beginning of the film, the world’s youngest person dies at only 18 years old. This event further shakes a battered, crippled world already struggling to find hope. After the event, the protagonist, Theo leaves work early to go visit a friend.

During his visit they briefly discuss the infertility situation and sample some of the “Strawberry Cough” which is essentially marijuana that tastes like strawberry. Later he is visited by an old female friend whose group kidnaps him in the back of a van. She asks him to bring her some fake transit papers in exchange for 5,000 pounds. He gets in touch with his connection and goes back to meet the group that kidnapped him in the van.

He gets in the car with his female friend Julian, a black man, a nurse named Miriam, and Kee – the first pregnant woman in the world for 18 years. During the car ride Julian is shot and killed. Her body is buried in the forest and Theo, Miriam, Kee and the black man arrive at the base of the Fishers – a group that wants to use Kee’s baby as merely a political statement to further their own agenda. Upon overhearing that they had intentions of killing him, Theo wakes Kee and Miriam and the three sneak off to steal one of the cars. They barely escape.

Theo brings Kee and Miriam to his friend Jasper’s house where he is sure that they will be safe. The day after they arrive they are forced to leave as the Fishers have caught up with them. Jasper helps them leave and is killed by the Fishers for not disclosing the location of his friends.

With the help of one of Jasper’s guard friends, they are able to cross the border. Miriam is thrown off the bus for trying to protect Kee through chanting religious mantras. At this point only Theo and Kee remain. Kee is having contractions and Theo continues to comfort and guide her to a safe haven. Kee finally gives birth to a baby girl. Jasper’s guard friend comes back and forces Kee to show him her baby. Upon realizing that the guard can no longer be trusted, Theo, Kee, and a gypsy woman escape the building.

Theo and Kee struggle to walk through a war zone. The Fishers find Kee and kidnap her and her child. Theo takes pursuit. He reaches the top of the building where Kee is being held and manages to get her down the stairs safely. As they walk down the stairs; everyone stares at them because of the baby. One of the soldiers orders a cease fire and everyone is amazed to see Kee and her child. The cease-fire only lasts for a brief moment before a bomb goes off and the shooting begins again.

Theo manages to communicate to the gypsy woman that they need to find a boat. The gypsy finds them a boat and allows them to row out to sea in order to wait for the Tomorrow, so that Kee is able to aid the Human Project in finding a cure. Theo dies on the boat from his gun wounds. Kee is now all alone with her baby and on the horizon, the Tomorrow appears.

Imagery

The film was shot entirely in London. Certain imagery is used to convey certain messages. Several of the billboards and signs display subtle, yet clear political messages. One sign says “report illegal immigrants” while another advertises a suicide medicine called Quietus. The director is trying to illustrate a world in which a tyrannical government has rendered its citizens helpless and rather than helping the rest of the world – continues to operate solely for its own interests; shutting desperate refugees in cages and concentration camps.

What was most interesting about the imagery used in the film was the setting. Even though the year was 2027; the setting resembled the present in almost every facet. The cars and transit systems were all the same, the weapons were the same types of weapons that exist in the present, and the architecture was very similar to that of 20th and 21st century architecture.

There were also a heavy amount of war scenes. During the second half of the movie, as Kee and Theo were trying to get to the boat – the war zone that they were crossing through looked like it had once been a residential area. It seems as though the director was trying to emphasize how the absence of children can bring about catastrophic results.

Sound

Sound is used carefully and purposefully throughout the film to illustrate emotions and thoughts that cannot always be represented visually. In the beginning, Theo noted a painful ringing sound in his ear. Gunshots are consistently heard in the background throughout a large portion of the movie. Electronic music, rock, pop, and classical was used as well.

Ideology

The main purpose of the film is to highlight the resilience of the human spirit. In a time of unparalleled devastation, poverty, desperation, and despair – a little child symbolizes a hope for humanity. The ending of the movie is especially important. It is left up to the viewer to interpret. Hopeful people will assume that Kee boards the Tomorrow that the Human Project does their research and through it all humanity is eventually saved. Those with a more pessimistic outlook on life will envision just the opposite.

The political ideologies in the film are slightly more subtle – yet, they are highly relevant. The tyranny of the British government symbolizes what government can become when it is at its worst. The advertising of a suicide kit, the mass imprisonment of innocent refugees, and the enforcement of martial law in Britain are all signs of the horrors and atrocities that a government can commit against its own people.

Similarly, the political group known as the Fishers, is no better than the government that they choose to fight. They were killing their own people simply for the sake of killing and planning to exploit Kee and her baby for political gain. The Fishers can easily be related to political movements that claim to stand for a good cause and yet commit abhorrent crimes against humanity; such as the Christian Crusaders.

Writing, Editing, and Acting       

The writing for Children of Men was superb. The writers balanced just the right amount of seriousness with the perfect amount of humor to create a well-balanced film. However, it did feel as though some parts were lacking explanation – particularly the history of Julian and Theo’s relationship.

The acting was nothing short of superb. It felt as though one was actually there in the movie – traveling with Theo and Kee. Even the side actors were marvelous. The expressions of the soldiers that appeared in the final war scene could be felt on a deep level.

Conclusion

Children of Men is a dystopian science fiction film that centers on the themes of hope and survival in the midst of social unrest and political warfare. The acting, writing, editing, and directing were incredibly professional and believable. The film was also very relatable as it dealt with issues that are pertinent in society today.

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