This film is based loosely upon the 1992 P.D. James novel The Children of Men, and depicts a dystopian world in the near future in which the onset of human infertility has created havoc on the planet.
Equal parts Blade Runner, A Clockwork Orange, and Soylent Green, Children of Men examines the proverbial world gone mad that is, in many ways, a biting commentary on the world in which we live. The narrative revolves around the discovery of the first woman to conceive in 18 years, and efforts by a radical group to exploit her birth for political ends.
The last functional nation on the planet is Great Britain, and it is ruled by a totalitarian government that is hell bent on removing illegal immigrants who flock to the islands. The regime's solution to the problem is the creation of vast immigrant camps that bear a resemblance to the ghettos created by the Nazis during World War II.
This is a film that avoids simplistic good guys/bad guys dichotomies; the radicals and fascists in this film are equally repugnant creatures whose zealous political ideologies leave many dead in their respective wakes. Instead, it provides hope that, even in the worst of times, the human spirit might triumph.
Throughout the film director Alfonso Cuarón keeps viewers on edge, and challenges their assumptions about his intentions. One leaves the film a bit weary, from the frenetic pace of the events, the catharsis of the violent scenes, and the emotional rollercoasters upon which viewers travel throughout its 109 minutes.
Despite its undercurrent of hope, the film is open-ended, much to my delight and to the chagrin of my wife, who likes films to have a definite conclusion (must be the mathemetician in her). One leaves Children of Men with more questions than answers, but the film is thought-provoking, relevant, and a must-see.