Based on the novel by P.D. James
In a previous review at some stage I mentioned that I’m quite a fan of Clive Owen’s. Not in ‘omg he’s lovely’sort of a way, but in a ‘he’s a good actor’ sort of a way. And he is often in interesting films. Course, he is also in some terrible films, but you win some you lose some.
This may be the first film where he actually lives up to what I’ve always thought he could do, because he is perfect as Theo. Cynical, slightly depressed and weary of life, but he also has flashes of humour and a definite personality.
Theo used to be an activist, that is where he met his wife Julian. But his son died in when flu swept across the country, he and his wife divorced. Not only that, but there is also the fact that no more babies are being born. The human race is dying out. And without the hope that new life brings societies are being ripped apart in violence and chaos.
Only England still stands. Or so the English government adverts would have you believe. But at a high price. Terrorism is common. Suicide kits are advertised everywhere. And every immigrant is illegal. Sheltering, feeding or helping an immigrant in any way is also a crime.
Owen is perfect in his role as every man turned possible hero in this dystopian England of 2027. And the film itself is very entertaining. In certain situations it isn’t at all subtle. Images of Bexhill, the refugee camp echo the images of torture Abu Ghraib. Images of London mourning the death of ‘the world’s youngest inhabitant’ are strikingly similar to those from around the time of Diana’s death.
But that is the point. To point out the possible future by showing us a reflection of the present.
It also manages to blend the bleakness and darkness of this fascist regime with the odd bit of humour. Michael Caine’s character of Jasper is a perfect example. And the surreal aspect of Theo’s minister cousin going around the world, saving great works of art from destruction, despite the fact that in 40 or so years time there won’t be anyone left to appreciate them.
It does get a little obvious, and there are attempts to hit hard with the emotion, but I think it works. Mainly because it is balanced by the fact that the sentiment doesn’t really win out. There are also a few surprising deaths along the way. Always a good thing.
It also looks great, but we knew from Cuarón’s work on Harry Potter that he could make a scene look fantastic. Overall, well worth the watch.