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Children of Men directed by Alfonso Cuaron -
I finally got this movie on Blu-ray and I'm irked by the fact that I haven't had time to watch it, because Children of Men is one of the greatest pieces of cinematic brilliance ever created. So many different pieces fit together to make this masterpiece that hasn't received the public attention it deserves. I've watched it twice now and so far it remains the best movie I have ever seen.
The story of Children of Men is really compelling, and something that was explored in just the right ways. You get the idea, women can't have children any more, and it doesn't force that down on you. But uses it that concept to build into the world we have, there isn't any backstory, no explanation for why it is this way, it just is. And the story it tells of Theo and Kee is undoubtedly captivating. I've yet to read the book (and I plan on reading it soon) but I believe the direction the film took was a direct narrative and more of a commentary on individual character than society as a whole. The films pacing is tight and constantly moving, giving exposition when needed and driving the story towards the inevitable and vague conclusion. The acting in the movie is good, Clive Owen plays his character as well as it calls for, being an every-man thrust into the middle of chaos, doing the best he can to try and fix things. Michael Caine, Julianne Moore, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Clare A****ey all do a great job of playing to writing and portraying struggling characters in a desperate world.
I got into a serious debate with someone over cinematography at one point. And he said some things that I've come to agree with, and that's that the one take shot style has it's place in cinema. It can be used beautifully and for a purpose, and it can also be a gimmick. Great films such as Birdman and Gravity both use it stylistically rather than as a pull for audiences. Other movies like Victoria use it as something to try and get people to come and see it. Not to say it can't be used that way, but it certainly makes it better for a movie when it uses that style for a reason. Now don't get me wrong, the classic cinematic shot composition has it's place that I will always respect, it's how it's always been done and there are certain directors who use it well and to their advantage. But what Cuaron does is using that style to help build the movies gritty realism, and so many elements support that. Emmanuel Lubezki's gorgeous cinematography is nothing short of breathtaking, because it sucks you in, you feel like you can never take your eyes off of the screen. Something is always happening and those long takes reinforce that point.
Children of Men has great writing, brilliant cinematography, a discussion worthy idea that it builds perfectly. I believe this is a prime example of quality filmmaking, show how many pieces it take to make a movie right. Visuals, story, writing, acting, directing, score, all combining to make what I hope time will call a masterpiece. I clapped, I sat in my house alone, and clapped when the credits rolled. I've never done that since.