Monday, January 01, 2007

Children of Men (2006, Alfonso Cuaron)

(originally written for the Onion AV Club's end-of-2006 poll)

Like THE PRESTIGE, CHILDREN OF MEN demands multiple viewings, but for a different reason. Watching CHILDREN OF MEN for the first time reminded me of when I saw EYES WIDE SHUT on opening night- it made a strong impression, but it was difficult to grasp everything that the film was up to. I think that’s because Alfonso Cuaron, like Kubrick, refuses to stop and explain what he’s doing, trusting the audience to hold on and keep up, which of course is much easier to do when you know what’s in store for you. The film’s technical specs are impeccable, with three already-legendary extended camera shots raising the bar for such things. But Cuaron and D.P. Emmanuel Lubezki aren’t just dicking around with the camera, but using these bravura shots as a way of plunging the audience directly into the action, and it works beautifully- on both of my viewings of the film to date, I barely even noticed that one of these long takes was uninterrupted. The only question is, after throwing the “sex movie” for a loop, crafting the best (read: least slavish) movie adaptation of HARRY POTTER, and now this, what else could Cuaron possibly have up his sleeve?

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