The River

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

I read the news today, oh boy

Children of Men

Basically, the new dystopian sci-fi thriller is a documentary.

For the battle scenes, substitute the urban warfare of Iraq.

For the scapegoating and caging of immigrants, substitute “terrorists” and Halliburton detention camps.

For the suicide drug Quietus, substitute Prozac.

For troops on the streets, substitute post-Katrina New Orleans or present-day Baghdad, or....

For The Uprising, substitute Hezbollah or Hamas.

For the infertility epidemic, substitute despair due to pollution, global warming, and the tyranny of elite scumbags.

For the pot-smoking, philosophizing Michael Caine, substitute you and me.

And for the birth, substitute the second coming, hope, and salvation, obviously.

It wasn’t, in my estimation, the great film many critics have hailed it to be, but it has cultural awareness, hip black humor, and a great soundtrack to recommend it. Click here to hear a good example, Running the World, by Jarvis Cocker.

I adored that movie, for all the reasons you gave, Bruce, but also because it didn't allow you to become happy, there was no real uplifting ending. Hollywood films usually have to let the audience off the hook somehow, but this one depressed the flip out of me, so therefore was very effective. The cinematography was superb, the conceptual tech for the future was subtle and entirely believable.

I was exhausted after I watched it.
Hey Shem. I agree it was a very good film and since I'm having trouble figuring out what I felt was lacking, I didn't include that in the post. It didn't depress me, so maybe that's what it is, although it was certainly bleak enough. Although I love the show-don't-tell respect for the intelligence of the viewer, perhaps I wanted a bit more context -- how'd we get to this point and how is the birth of one child going to change anything. As it was, we had to take it on faith, pun intended. The focus on the miraculous birth (a la the virgin Mary) was heavy handed, undeveloped, which kept me at a distance.
I want to see it soon .. actually went to see it the other night with my wife, but the multiple screenings here in vancouver were all sold out ;-( Had to suffer through Volver instead (not really .. very good film).

I doubt that CoM will depress me, since so much of the past decade has already done an admirable job ... rather, i suspect that i will feel a small frisson of hopefulness, inferring that more and more and more people are gradually cluing in to the insanity of so much of what we collectively enable and tolerate out of fear and discomfort with ambiguity.

One can only accept, tolerate and adapt to total insanity for so long before you have to laugh ;-)
you'll enjoy the black humor, Jon.

I saw it last night with about five other people. Weeknight, 9:45 show. I snuck in a couple of Dale's Pale Ale, so I felt particularly subversive, as well as solidarity with the Clive Owen character, who drinks his share throughout the flick.
Living where I live I'll have to wait for the DVD but hey that won't be long, never is anymore ;)
Hey Doug! Many benefits to a DVD, such as being able to let go of some of that beer without missing anything.
Hi Bruce, they let me out of the work camp for a few hours today. We're taking our little boy to get his passport photo.

re: Jon's "more and more and more people are gradually cluing in to the insanity of so much of what we collectively enable and tolerate out of fear and discomfort with ambiguity."

Films like this tap into myth to create self-amplifying memes, far more powerful than logic or its mongoloid cousins in PR. So I'm glad it doesn't give too much context on how we got here. Our way of life is how we got here.
"our way of life is how we got here" -- yes, on the film-as-allegory level. And the more I reflect on the film, the more I realize how successful it is in that respect. Like I said, documentary, but not, of course, being a sci-fi (sorta, 20 years from now is no big stretch) weird situation. So the great thing about the film is it gives you that fresh look at the world that you want with films, and it has heart, which is the other big thing with films.

But my point, which I'm thinking is really minor if you just go with the allegory, which you should, is that I didn't get how the infertility came about or how the new baby changed it.
no, I got you ok. maybe it's because the script doctors were weak on their biochemical genetics, but it's thematically easy to play off our natural fear of extinction. Because it has almost happened before, and that knowledge lies hard-wired within us. No need to show the monster, but they could've referred to how sperm counts levels are drastically falling in rural America and filled in the blanks to 20 years from now.

As a race we had to work very, very hard to survive at times, and were almost checked out completely at least twice. Down to a few people. Stanford gene jocks think (or in their terms, "have proven") it was literally one guy who we're all descended from, and this occurred when rapid climate change occurred in Africa. 250,000 years ago. The successful adaptation was to find and devour new foods in great variety while on the move.

That's when the size of our brains exploded and we became "human." I suppose you suddenly had to process and communicate a great deal of food knowledge. The James Beard foundation wasn't far behind. A couple fun books which refer to genomic evidence, the evolution of brain development, food management and migration are "Against the Grain" and "American Mania."

I sure hope we figure out how to make it this time.
I agree that it didn't quite live up to the reviews. But I still enjoyed it, immensely.

I thought Owen gave a brilliant performance. The line he navigates between cynicism and responsibility is excellent. He also has a great way of delivering the dark humor.

The cinematography of the film is worth the price of admission alone. I almost fell out of my chair during that one really extended scene where you see the blood specks on the lens. Fantastic stuff.

And, alas, you're right. Much of it could play like a documentary. That's such a happy thought. I could soooooo go for a Quietus these days. :)
yeah, Owen's performance was excellent.
I went and watched it .. not as impressed as I thought I would be, and I am not sure why.

I thought thatthe cinematographic techniques used and the editing were very well done.

The rest I am still noodling on .. I will probably need to see it again before I figure out why I was not wildly impressed.
well, Jon, you can always rent How I Got Into College for the good stuff.

Re CoM, it just didn't have the depth to make it great. It's like when Dylan puts out a mediocre album. It's still good and better than 90 percent of what's out there, but you know it's short of what it could be.
Great sound track though, like you said.

I will look for the film HIGIC. Thanks for the recommendation.
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