Thursday, August 02, 2007

No future

I do love a good dystopian film and boy does Children of Men deliver. The future society is grim, but not too far our from reality to be unbelievable and not too horrid to be easily dismissed. It is also surprisingly even handed, with both the oppressive state and the forces of rebellion acting in repellent ways.

The decline of the world came from end of children. At some point in the future, women stopped having babies. As people realized there was no future, the world largely collapsed with the exception of England which has become an authoritarian state committed to keeping non-Britons out. The rebels, known as the fish, perhaps a Christian or perhaps a Maoist reference, have a pregnant woman on their hands and they want the help of the withdrawn hero to get her out of England.

This could have been a typical chase film, but thanks to the source material, written by master mystery writer PD James, the story takes a number of surprising turns. The movie's theme is clearly about pressing on and maintaining hope, against every reason not to hope and to give up. The final shot makes manifest the triumph of hope.

The movie is also meant to ask questions about the current world. The refugee camps in Britain are meant to shock and then force you to think about the Palestinian camps (and presumably the horrors of Central Africa) and why they continue to exist. I suspect there is also a warning about the slow slide to a paternalistic and dominating security state. It doesn't really have any answers for any of the questions, but it is worth noting that the world today is this bad in many places.

No comments: