Top Twenty of the Decade #15

Theo: I can’t remember the last time I had any hope.

15. Children of Men (2006) – Dir. Alfonso Cuaron

I am a sucker for long takes. I love ‘em, the longer the better. They’re fascinating to me, even in movies I don’t like (Snake Eyes). I think it is an interesting choice. It can make a scene tense, or force you to really look at what is happening in the frame, or just put you in the middle of the action. This brilliant dystopian film utilizes the long take throughout, and to great effect. The set pieces (car ambush, morning escape, final siege) are some of the best I’ve ever seen and deserve comparison to the all-time greats (Touch of Evil opening, Goodfellas Copacabana), they are something to behold.

But, the movie is much more than fantastic long shots. I love the contemporary future of the movie. Things have advanced, but the global infertility has caused everything to degrade. Which makes sense, no one would really care about upkeep in a world without a future. It’s a wonder people even wake up in the morning (the film subtly addresses this with hilarious background TV ads).

I also love the never better Clive Owen. He is so subtle, only allowing you a small glimpse of his inner humanity. When he stops being a cynic and starts to fight, to believe, the change is minimal. It isn’t some big speech moment or something forced. It’s small and goes unnoticed, as it should and that’s because of Clive.

Basically, everything in this movie feels right. It feels thought-out and reasoned. The characters act how you think they might, and the world feels like you think it would if this really happened, which is no small task. Plenty of other films never even come close to making this kind of thing look so effortless.

It’s a great thing to watch a movie when you can tell the director gives a shit about all of these things. It’s why Cuaron’s Harry Potter is head and shoulders above the rest. It’s why he can make a teenage-sex-road movie feel revelatory, why he made Dickens feel fresh and sexy, why he’ll be on this list a second time, and why I love this movie so much.


5 responses to “Top Twenty of the Decade #15

  1. One of my all time favorites. I’m hoping “Never Let Me Go” captures that same character driven, subtle Science Fiction vibe.

  2. Pingback: My Favorite Films of the Last Decade #8 | Shooting the Script

  3. Pingback: Top Twenty Films of the Decade – Recap | Shooting the Script

  4. Pingback: Top Twenty of the Decade #1 | Shooting the Script

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