Although I had Volver and World Trade Center at home, I thought I should be starting my awards season experience with something bigger, a proper cinematic experience. You see, I had just come out of a pre-New Year's eve Indy Jones back-to-back triple feature, a fun experience if there ever was one, and was looking for something that would equal the style and substance of the Indy Jones pictures, but get rid of all the camp. Luckily enough for me, the Qatari cinemas, not reputed for screening too many awards season flicks, were showing Alfonso Cuaron's Children of Men.
I didn't know much about the movie, except that it was Alfonso Cuaron's (of Y Tu Mama Tambien, and Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban fame) post-apocalyptic world, and had something to do with global infertility in humans. And that's all Cuaron actually tells us. Right away, we're immersed in this gritty, dirty, terrifying world, where everything seems to have gone wrong, but we aren't given any explanations for it. I say we're immersed in the world because we aren't introduced to it, almost as if we actually did live in that world and were watching a movie then.
So there we are, in 2027, in London, England, seemingly the only country that has survived, if you can call it that, the war and complete destruction of the rest of the world, and we see the top story of the day blaring out on the ubiquitous TV screens. The world's baby, the youngest person alive at 18 years old, has just died. We're shown mass outpourings of grief all over the country and the world, shock at the loss of this individual, more signs, in fact, that humanity doesn't have much hope ahead of it.
Cuaron doesn't treat us to super-technical wizardry or amazing innovations to tell us about how the world is different in the future. Instead, we see how the world has changed for the people, how Britain's turned completely anti-immigrant and is even deporting huge numbers of non-Britons, how religious groups are saying that the worldwide infertility is the punishment of God and how the government has begun to hand out suicide packs allowing you to go "the way you want to."