Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Movie Moments: Children of Men

Welcome to a weekly feature here at Movies With Abe. There are great movies, and then there are great scenes. Ideally, the two come as a package deal, but sometimes there’s just a scene that’s memorable all by itself. Each week, I’ll be taking a look at a formative movie moment that may be notable for its style, content, technique, or something else altogether. Major spoilers will be referenced in this edition of the series, so please stop reading if you’ve somehow avoided seeing the movie in question.

I’ve seen this inexplicably underrated 2006 dystopian thriller three times and was equally astounded by it each time. Its bleak vision of a future in which no one is able to get pregnant and one former activist risks his life to save a miraculously pregnant woman is astounding, and its strengths are most evident in these two clips from very different points in the film. The first truly kicks off the action and sends things spiraling, while the latter brings it all to a halt. After a formidable, ground-shaking opening with a coffee shop explosion, things really get into gear with the sudden appearance of a fiery roadblock just moments after Clive Owen’s Theo and his onetime love, Julianne Moore’s Julian share a laugh over a party trick. The speed at which the scene takes place is dizzying, and a sniper on a motorcycle fires directly at Julian before Theo opens his door to send him flying off his bike. The subsequent murder of the police officers by Chiwetel Ejiofor’s Luke confirms the horrible downturn events and foreshadows the even more miserable outlook for the rest of the film. That is contrasted sharply by the scene below, which comes towards the end of the film, where Clare-Hope Ashley’s Kee has just given birth, and the sound and sight of the crying baby stops everything in its tracks, prompting soldiers to cease fire and everyone to look on in awe. No sooner than Theo, Kee, and the new baby have passed the soldiers outside the building does the fighting start right back up again. This amazing, heart-wrenching film succeeds on so many levels, and these two scenes bookend a terrifying and captivating human story.

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