Monday, January 15, 2007

Children of Men

When I was but a child, I often emerged from the cinema waxing on about my just-seen, new favorite movie. My brother rightly made fun of me, and it was all completely cool. I think it's been maybe 10 years since I''ve pulled that kind of silliness, but as of Children of Men, I'm completely there again. It strikes me as the most morally thick film of recent memory. So rich. So resonating. So Kubrickish. My brother hasn't seen it, but my partner was on hand to make fun of me when I said something to the effect of, "This movie is a deal breaker. If James Dobson, for instance, can't say anything good about it, he needs to resign." And Sarah graciously pointed out that people who dig their heels in for a living (or 9to5 a brand image) aren't on duty all the time. Maybe Dobson doesn't even own a television, she said. Take it easy. Maybe the movie wouldn't register at all. Different generation. Have mercy. And she's right. But I will say that the film feels like one of those cultivating forces that hit me every so often. I want to be the target audience. I want to be associated with what the film's up to. It quieted me. It was like, "This is where the next conversation begins." Or something like that.
Anyway, somebody tell me what you made of it.


Dan Morehead said...

Ha...I sometimes jokingly say, "If you don't like that movie, it's not entirely clear to me that you have a soul." For me, it's my way of saying: I like it so much, my imagination is challenged by trying to imagine a person not liking it. But, among my friends, being called unimaninative is worse than heretic.

I'm dying to see Pan's Labyrinth...but I'll add this to my list as well.

Flibbityflu said...

Seeing movies. I remember those times. You're in a growing number that has said,"See this movie, you fool."

It's on cue, now!

nard said...

the hospital scene.... breathtaking.

The Haberdasher said...

I told a friend this is what we live against. The horrific outcomes of what humanity is possible of becoming. I found it so ironic and sad that no more than 30 seconds after everyone sees the child (the hope of men) a rpg is fired from a second story window and machine gun fire erupts on both sides. As the shots flew past the child's head I asked myself "will we ever get it?" Hmmmmmm?

Matthew said...

Just saw this with my wife this weekend, Sat night, partly because of your recommendation. The movie also resonated with me, and I am not sure why yet. I almost need another viewing, and more time to reflect, certainly.

I was stimulated by the fact that there were some significant things left somewhat unexplained and nebulous, such as: what exactly was the Uprising, what was the Human Project, who were they? Who did Clive Owen's character go to visit exactly when he went through those gates in the Bentley. I like having to fill in some of these blanks, it makes you think...The scene where he goes through all of the gunfire, etc to find Key again with the baby was as dramatic and riveting as any scene in Saving Private Ryan. Clive Owen continues to impress as an actor, this seems to build on his performances in "Closer" and the one with Jennifer Aniston. Please tell me more about what else you found meaningful about it as you continue to reflect.

jdaviddark said...

Glad to hear from all you guys. I wish i could force you to mmet each other. World enough and time...
Anyway, to try and say more in response to Matthew's request...It dramatized the hard, joyous, simple, complicated-feeling work of staying human, orienting oneself toward (and being oriented by) love. Michael Caine's space, his wife's life, his determined friendship with whatsisname (YOu're-a-fascist-pig guy). The life history we get on Theo...You get the feeling that all these character's have a library's worth of story...The cousin Theo visited might've been a kind of still-on-top-of-economic-hill politician/CEO. In the P.D. James' novel (which I liked...but which leaves me underwhelmed having seen the film) made Theo's cousin the reigning Prime Minister/Lord Protector of the entire UK. The Human Project (I'm guessing) was a sort of fabled, civilizing effort (coed monastic movement?) still worthy, according to public opinion, of the adjective "human."
A community of actual, redemptive-redeeming activity in an otherwise merely mercantile, dying world.
Anybody else have a thought/

fluttertongue said...

This is strangely coincidental - I saw this film on Monday and really wanted to talk to someone about it because it was one of those pieces of art that you couldn't just walk away from and get on with life.
I was struck mostly by Theo's cousin's comment that he dealt with the situation by not thinking about it. I'm a bit of a bedbound activist and I strongly believe that not thinking about things is just about the worst thing you can do, especially if you're in a position of power.

Matthew said...

I found a review of the movie at
that I think would be worth a read for you guys. It brought some more points to my mind to ponder. The reviewer, Jeff Overstreet, has a great blog,, and just released a book about film called "Through a Scanner Darkly" that I am interested to read. It looks like it might book-end well with "Everyday Apocalypse," or at least sit at the same table.

kay said...


missing the 'darkness'. hello from a blog-o-sphere novice.

children of men: have not yet seen, but certainly plan to. pan's labyrinth: just saw in boston. incredible. still, after a week of being removed, i am wordless. will you see it? please do. be prepared for the unceasing contrast of sheer innocence and original sin. loved.... i'm pretty sure i did...

jdaviddark said...

Pan's Labyrinth...Yayus....Saw it the very weekend after CofM and wwe found ourselves knocked down very blessedly by the thing..Makes me want to learn spanish and see Hellboy AND Blade II...Just had a look at the Overstreet blog and I feel like I found a friend...Man would I like to see David Lynch in person.

Harv & Nat said...

we saw this the night before Pans. Im not sure why these two films have been viewed hand in hand by so many folks i know..

Anyhoo.. after seeing COM - Harv and I just sat in silence in the car for a while I on the verge of tears. Not sure why except that i dont want to ever bear a child. This movie touched in me that right, honor, duty whatever you may call it. I loved the film
It has clung to us, more so then Pans - even though we loved it too...

jdaviddark said...

harv & nat.
How fun to scroll down and see your shining selves on here (and within less than 24 hours of bowling in your presence).
thanks for putting in a word. just today i felt pan's L pulsing in my head, and COM still has me looking off to the side in thought.

so glad to be associated with thee(s),

reva said...

well, chad and i saw "children of men" without really knowing what we were getting into (i read the book whiles ago), and what i mean by "not knowing what we were getting into", i mean that i was unprepared, lacking some sort of body, heart and brain armor, etc. i cried through the whole thing (chad threatened to remove me from the theater--not b/c i was misbehavin' but b/c he was concerned). i cried all the way home. i cried myself to sleep (which took a while), and when i woke up, i started crying again. if i sit back and remember the images, the contrasting of love and life, with war and the flattening of the human person (both the self and others), the anti-do unto others assaulting the radical do whatever it takes for the other, the foreground with its specific this-is-the-story and the terrible background with its unnamed-never-gonna-be-written-down-and-remembered-but-just-as-specific-horror/story unfolding (like the cages full of people and dogs and hoods and bodies on the ground), i start to cry again.
it was/is a hard and wonderful movie--so much darkness and such real and tiny and barely standing-up hope, and don't get me started on how not sci-fi it is, how very real, and present danger it is, how very oh-my-god-what-have-we done/what-are-we-doing it is.

thredd said...

i cried most.
but i dunno?
i have aboat in my head since iwas may.b 4? called tomorrow, but it has a tree gowing up from it and a ladder to it. also had a grage boxx called {project s.o.o.n]
and b4 god but i don't sware 2003 my son mrk was murdered b4 my eyes. he was 14
so, i am mayb twisted?on the matter of movies criticism?
i build all kinds of boats in my head to go to sleep , i got millions.
someone mentione.d pan's?
it was a good one too but not so much like this, one.
sadd now, i lost all my art, from 2000 to now
and tis is the 4th year aslo
this week mrk is r.i.p.
sorry to spill a most upsetting bean.: buti don care anymore
i n case yur wond.ring, samm:
this is really y i got out of music:
but noone knows, only mr. lee.
not evn th e gran mother.
it will b. april 24 2007 : 4 years he is gone to jesus.
so thredd has different take.
but yu knowme as r. lamb.
yu won't see this.
i am goin dark, now.
ironic i just lost all my art, too.
i just lost my 30%
unless im jus feelin badd.
phone voxx doesn't show yu how badd off thredd is.
awful tic. and thinny skinny.
yu don't want me to comet o music city.
an yu shouldn erite a thin down i say.
thredd just wanted to hear anice vox.b4 i went drk.
humanity was badd to me b4 i was cog.native.
but philosophlies and whistle blowin nevr. helped.
.on;ly jesus.
scannr drkly is good 2.
whutevr. but i don't care for draw ovr.s

clint said...

hey, david. not sure if you remember me, but i met you in mt. vernon, OH. you and sarah were there, speaking on christianity and the marketplace. i had just graduated from there the spring before (this meeting was, i believe, in the winter sometime), and the talk was going well until the suggestion was made that "brokeback mountain" could possibly be seen as a beautiful expression of love and brokenness? oh, how easily nazarenes can be distracted . . .

anyway, my experience of CoM was not perfect. my wife and i had some friends over, and our dogs were tearing up the place, and i think everyone expected more action, so the boredom-vibe was definitely being put out. which was regrettable, because the film, i could tell, was carrying some serious weight. i did notice the radiohead playing in the background at michael caine's place.

regarding haberdasher's comments, yes it was sad that the guns began firing again. but that brief silence in between the violence revealed the fragile nature of hope. beautiful scene.

and i wanted to let you know about Dr. Dobson's response, or at least his pluggedinonline reviewer's response. it's here.

it seems to me they view the film negatively on account of, among other things, unnecessary darkness(??) and pessimistic portrayal of government. Weird, huh? such a shame.