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Children of Men (2006)

I can’t really remember when I last had any hope, and I certainly can’t remember when anyone else did either. Because really, since women stopped being able to have babies, what’s left to hope for?

— Theodore Faron

I have meant to watch Alfonso Cuarón’s adaptation of P.D. James’s novel, Children of Men. I have heard nothing but good things about this movie. It is now the 189th Film on the IMDb Top 250 Films list. It was nominated for three Oscars including Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing and Best Adapted Screenplay. I wondered at the end of the movie, why the hell didn’t I see this movie sooner?

The movie’s setting takes place in the dystopian world of 2027 London where the world’s population is descending into chaos after the world became infertile. The reason for the phenomenon has not been known until certain events could shed light on the plight of humanity’s survival. There is a countrywide crackdown on illegal immigrants that are brought to refugee camps.

The main person that we fellow is a former activist, Theo Faron (Clive Owen) who is working soul-sucking 9-to-5 job where he was almost killed in a bomb blast getting coffee. The world is in mourning over the death of the youngest person in world who was a little over 18. He skips out on work to visit another former activist friend of his, Jasper (Michael Caine) is a hermit living in the middle of woods growing marijuana in his house.

Jasper tells Theo about “The Human Project” which is a secret government project that could help cure the infertility in women. Theo doesn’t believe a place existed. When Theo world is rocked when he is abducted by Luke (Chiwetel Ejiofor), Patric (Charlie Hunnam) and Ian (Paul Sharma) who are members of the Fishes, which is an underground guerrilla group that is fighting for the rights of the immigrants.

The leader of the group is actually Theo’s ex, Julian (Julianne Moore) who wants Theo to do a big favor for her. She wants Theo to get transit papers for a “fugee girl” that is trying to get out of the chaos of London. Theo is resistant to do it when Julian offers him $5,000 pounds, he reconsiders it. He goes to his cousin, Nigel (Danny Huston) to ask for the papers. All Theo could get is joint transit papers, which means that he has to go with the girl.

Julian brings Theo to the place where the girl, Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey) is hidden away at with her guardian, Miriam (Pam Ferris). The group, including Luke ride out to a checkpoint to get her on a boat away from the place when the car is attacked by rioters and Julian is shot. Things go from bad to worse when Theo realizes that Kee is pregnant. Now, he knows that stakes and lengths that people would go to get close to Kee and her unborn child.

At first, I didn’t know what to make of this movie because the beginning of movie was fine, but nothing exciting was happening. Then when the revelation of Kee’s pregnancy happened, I was hooked right in. It was a tense=filled ride for that time forward. I wanted characters to be all right. I was afraid when danger would come knocking on their door. I have never been so moved by an ending like I did this one.

The movie felt a lot like The Road is some respects, but this movie had hope and heart it in it. The allegories of the concentration camps, Abu Ghraib, September 11th, the war in Iraq were not lost on me. It reminded me of another movie, Blindness that I didn’t care for that much. This world felt like modern times that it eerily gave us a glimpse into a possible future. After you read this review, go and buy this movie. Watch it, experience it. You will not regret it.

Judgment: I didn’t know how could I recommend this movie highly enough?

Rating: ****1/2

Boy A (2007)

Here is another film that popped up in my radar because of the hosts of Filmspotting enjoyed the lead performance in Boy A. I didn’t know that much about the movie from the start. I saw the trailer and a plot description; it had more intrigued to see the film. It was a television movie over in England before it was released theatrically here a year later.

Based on the novel by Jonathan Trigell tells the story of a 24-year-old young man, Jack Burridge (Andrew Garfield) is released from jail after a lengthy prison sentence. He wants to start his life over, because he doesn’t want to be that guy anymore. A rehabilitation worker, Terry (Peter Mullan) is assigned to Jack to help him integrate back into normal life in Manchester. Terry pretends to be Jack’s uncle to give Jack a place to live at a friends, Kelly’s (Siobhan Finneran) flat and helps him find work at DV Deliveries.

Jack has a police presence staked out in front of the house when he gets settled in. Alone in his room, Jack has flashbacks from when he was a kid (Alfie Owen) befriending a fellow troublemaker, Philip (Taylor Doherty) as they skip school, shoplift food and stand up to a couple of bullies. Philip confides in him about being raped by a family member. They become very couple when they make a grave mistake that affected their lives forever.

Jack is wondering about the circumstance of what happened to Philip when he was in jail. Did he commit suicide or was he killed by fellow inmates? He wants Terry to find out what exactly happen to him. Terry’s underachieving son, Zeb (James Young) appears on his doorstep because he has become homeless and has no place to go. He seems uninterested in having a life outside of the house.

Starting out on his new job, Jack becomes from friends with Chris Cowie (Shaun Evans) who is his delivery partner. Jack tries to become more accustomed to his new life that he is too shy to know that the company secretary, Michelle (Katie Lyons) is interested in him. On a night on the town with the boys from work, a different side of Jack comes out when Chris is getting hit from a group of guys and he steps in to save him.

Taking a drive back to the warehouse one day, Jack notices a broken stone wall. They go to investigate and find a car crashed against tree over an embankment. Jack saves a little girl. Afterwards, Jack and Chris are labeled heroes around Manchester. They feel pretty good about themselves, but Jack doesn’t want to have a picture taken. He tries to hide his face. When Jack’s face hits the newspapers his dark past he has been running from come back to haunt him and destroy everything that he ever worked for.

Granted that this movie was originality shown on broadcast television made me a little hesitant about the pacing, because it is a slow burn for most of it. It was like watching a rubber band being slowly stretched out. Nothing really happened until the last twenty minutes of the movie. I thought this was a fascinating exploration of redemption. Can you escape from your past? Will you ever forget what has been done?

Judgment: I would say, watch this movie, hang on to the end, and you will not regret it.

Rating: ****

Trainspotting (1996)

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We would have injected vitamin C if only they had made it illegal!

— Mark “Rent-boy” Renton

Trainspotting was the film that broke, director Danny Boyle into the mainstream conscienceness back in 1996. I caught bits and pieces of this movie over the years. Last night, I saw the film in its entirety.

This film is on the Top 250 Films of All Time on IMDb coming in at #170. It was nominated for an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay for John Hodge.

Based on the novel by Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting is about the narrator, Mark “Rent-boy” Renton (Ewan McGregor). Along with his social misfits friends that are waist deep into the waters of full blown heroin abuse and the ramifications that come from that.

Renton wants to have a better life than the one that he has now. His “friends”, Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), Spud (Ewen Bremner), Begbie (Robert Carlyle) and Tommy (Kevin McKidd) take this journey with him as well. The friends are stuck in their little corner of Edinburgh.

Renton develops a relationship with Dianne, played by Kelly Macdonald in her feature film debut. That leads him into making life altering decisions that affects his relationship with his friends, his family and himself as a person.

This is a solid effort by Boyle about the reality and consequences of drug use. Either you destroy the drug or the drug destroys you. Simple as that.

Judgment: If you want to see the gritty realism of Scottish youth, check this film out.

Rating: ****

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