January 5, 2007

Bring On the Dystopia, Clive Owen Can Take It


Walking up to the 2nd Avenue Cinema Village East theater last week and seeing the line of people going half way down the block, Cinecultist wondered if something was going on. Could this many people be desperate to see Children of Men on a Friday afternoon? One frantic ticket seller behind the counter was trying to move people into the theater, but for some reason there wasn't a single person waiting to use the credit card kiosk inside. Even though it had been awhile since we'd been to a screening we had to pay for, it's still obviously good to be up on our local theaters' layouts.

Inside the theater it was full, though we still snagged a seat that wasn't in the very first row. Sometimes the movie gods are just aligned that way, and as Alfonso Cuarón's movie began to unspool, CC couldn't help but feel blessed. Sure, that sounds like a totally silly reaction to a dystopian sci-fi fantasy about a near future world dissolved into mass riots and lawlessness because women can no longer conceive, but it's true. Children is such an exhilarating viewing experience that we couldn't help but simultaneously thrilled by its deftness and then acutely aware that we were being thrilled. It's a very well done movie that makes the Cinema Studies student in us think, "Damn, look at that point of view camera" before plunging head-long back into the story. And it's not just that dogged pov, seeing this crazy world through the eyes of main character Theo (Clive Owen) as the camera runs along side him through refuge camp battlefields and terrorist attacks, that makes the movie so visceral. The acting is also superb, from Michael Caine's tough-in-check irreverence to Danny Huston's tossed off bonhomie.

The movie also reminded CC why we love Mr. Owen so much, despite appearing in such dreadfully over-hyped and then disappointing films as Derailed or Closer. His rugged, manly man magnetism is on par with some of the great screen legends and yet even when he looks worn down to the nub, as he does towards the end of this movie, he's still completely lovely. Like Cuarón's big American break out, Y Tu Mamá También, it's tough to put your finger precisely on why Children is such a wonderful movie other than it just feels so good.

Posted by karen at January 5, 2007 4:13 PM