Mineshaft Gap

It's a screening log, no more no less. Maybe I'll have something interesting to say one of these days...

It's Stork.

Children of Men (Cuaron, 2006)

Equal parts mesmerizing and baffling, Cuaron's new feature is a great film made from a banal topic. His story is slight, and his characters (though well played) are not particularly deep. But the film is a masterpiece of mise-en-scene, and masterful at underplaying big scenes of emotion.

The visceral cinematography and choreography by what seems like hundreds if not thousands of extras grounds you in the reality of this world. Cuaron is making a very specific statement about injustice and hope, but never lets his polemic become to bald-faced. Even in one long tracking shot that plays like a catalogue of Abu Ghraib imagery, I felt something was being reveled to me, not forced upon me.

All of this combines with perhaps the year's best ensemble performance. Owen, Moore, Eijiofor, Ashitey, Huston and especially Caine are stellar. Caine specifically turns in his best performance in years, playing a character something like an aged Alfie with a soul. He is funny and tenderly heartbreaking.

In the long run Cuaron may not to have much to say about the whys of the world today, but he cares deeply about the how. Within his quite classical narrative he wants to display how a government will go about cheapening individuals towards an amorphous "security". The torture, the marginalization and violations of what we like to hold as basic human rights are what he displays here, in powerful long takes. Even if his plot is in any number of SF novels, his images are uniquely his own with, a power to resonate through the world.

Current 2006 Top Ten:
1. Three Times
2. Children of Men
Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story
4. Miami Vice
5. A Prairie Home Companion
6. The Departed
7. The Queen
8. United 93
9. Inside Man
10. Dave Chapelle's Block Party

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