Children of Men

Rated 3.0

In Britain, 2027, humanity faces its own extinction through mysterious species-wide infertility. It’s brought out the worst in us: war, fascism, terrorism, xenophobia, ruinous environmental negligence, and a collective sense of “Why bother?” Yet, with help from hippie sage Michael Caine, jaded erstwhile activist Clive Owen reluctantly escorts a mysteriously pregnant refugee (Claire-Hope Ashitey) to a mysterious offshore sanctuary. Director Alfonso Cuarón doesn’t want to bog down in exposition, and his restraint seems prudent. It is to wonder why this dystopia du jour required five writers—six if you count P.D. James, whose 1992 novel it loosely adapts. Cuarón delights in marshaling his showpieces; a few important sequences transpire in dazzling single takes—so dazzling, actually, that they threaten to show up the action staged within them. Maybe Cuarón’s indulgence underscores a message about this destabilizing, dehumanizing environment. Or maybe he just wants to bring in the kids by aping your average first-person-shooter video game.