Viv and I went to see Cuaron’s Children of Men last night, and I fervently insist most of you, save those in New Orleans, rush forth to see it. I don’t have anything detailed to add to the positive critical opinion already made copiously available, save noting that I very much enjoyed the subtle use of editing and slapstick use of script elements to add resonant depth to the tale.
The flick adapts the satisfying dystopian visual language I first encountered in Spanish and European graphic novels of the 1980s to the screen with visceral urgency. Because of my familiarity with the visual sources, I had the distinctly pleasant experience of feeling nostalgia as I watched this blackly humorous riff on dystopian apocalyptic satire.
I found the film hilarious, laughing repeatedly in sequences that had the audience hushed and leading my wife to occasionally smack me gently. I should note that I did not find it funny in the manner of a terrible and misguided film; rather, I have more or less seen the world the film depicts as the only likely outcome of Western civilization, and happily, I have been mostly incorrect for the past forty years.
Which brings me to my assertion that denizens of the Crescent City may wish to avoid the film at present. The film depicts a profoundly, dysfunctionally stratified society marked by incomprehensible violence and gunpoint segregation. It does so with virtuoso set design and cinematography. I was not counting cuts, but an extended gunfight sequence is only distinguishable from Sarajevan or Beiruti or Fallujan documentary footage by virtue of the length of time the cameraman appears to avoid being shot and the regrettably-overused-in-this-decade desaturated color palette.
The last thing my New Orleanian friends need at this time is to cogitate on the intersection of filmmaking and gunplay in a postapocalyptic urban setting. The rest of you, get a ticket and take the entertaining warnings provided by this wild-eyed old hippy of a film to heart.