Alfonso Cuaron's CHILDREN OF MEN
I can count on the fingers of one hand the movies that have actually terrified me.:
- As a child, Invaders from Mars was one; that alien head in the bowl with the wiggling tentacles was hideous!
- Then there was The Quatermass Experiment. I still recall the awful images of the victim climbing down the side of the giant refiner tank having fallen into the unspeakably disgusting alien goo.
- I remember seeing Alien by myself on its opening night at the Uptown Theater in Washington DC. I cursed myself for being so strung out at the end. I've never been a big fan of horror films and I couldn't believe that I had subjected myself to this voluntarily.
- More recently, I was so disturbed by Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds that I had nightmares. It was the recognizability of the dayto day world goneto hell after an alien attack that was so awful.
Children of Men tops them all. For shear, hideous nastiness, this one takes the cake. There are no rampaging aliens with tentacles, no giant monsters, no creatures jumping out of the dark. What we have is a world in 2027 that is simultaneously awful and recognizable. This is what our world is becoming.
It's the recognizability that is so scary. Take the treatment of illegal immigrants in Children of Men. People with accents and foreign sounding names are rounded up and put into cages. Or they are pushed off behind walls and barriers into violent ghettos that are riven by gun toting factions and soldiers involved in "peace-keeping" operations.
For good measure we have terrorist explosions in downtown coffee bars, kidnappings, and to make things absolute hell -- the world is plagued bymass infertility; babies are a thing of the past. The future in 2027 simply doesn't exist and civilization is crumbling.
Cuaron has created what I think is one of the best films produced in recent years. I have definitely added it to my personal list of the best films ever made. Language, urban environments, weather, transportation -- everything is tweaked just enough to show a world that is like ours but decrepit and deteriorating in so many different ways.
The message of this film is really very simple: "If you don't take action now, this is what the world in 20 years will be like."