Going into this movie, I expected a depressing drama of a distopian future—Soylent Green but more modern and dark. It is that, but so much more.
Clive Owen plays Theo Faron, a Londoner whose city is the last piece of civilization. You wouldn’t know it from the film as street bombings and government round ups are commonplace, but the alternatives, as shown through news stories, seems worse. The movie opens with the death of 19 year old Baby Diego, the youngest person on the planet. For unknown reasons women are not able to become pregnant, making humanity an endangered species. The world mourns Diego, but Theo is more affected by the bombing he witnesses than the death of Diego. He escapes the city to his parent’s house, which is hidden in the country away from the refugee and army camps. His father Jasper, played by a transformed Michael Caine, is an aged hippy who grows marijuana and takes care of his wife who had a stoke. Jasper provides the lighter side to this dark movie, and it is impossible not to like his character. Before the action of the movie begins, the characters are strongly developed which is the basis of a great story. This movie does not rely on action to pull the plot but instead moves with Theo’s experiences and his reactions.
That is not to say there is no action in this movie. This is a very violent movie, but it is one of the few movies that I would say the violence is warranted and vital to the story. Theo is abducted by the Fishes, a group of radicals who are trying to make a difference in the government, and taken to their leader: his ex-wife Julian, played by Julianne Moore. She wants his help in obtaining border papers for a young girl in exchange for a large sum of money. The chemistry between Theo and Julianne is strong but short lived. Once Theo agrees to help, the story opens wide and moves quickly. Theo escorts the young woman Kee, played by Claire-Hope Ashitey, to a boat so the Human Project can help understand why she became pregnant and help her raise the child. Theo ends up helping her cope with pregnancy while trying to keep her alive. By the last battle scene, I was on the edge of my seat. From the gasps and jumps in the theater, I’d bet most of the viewers felt the same.
Traitors, bloodshed, and the first pregnancy in 18 years in a dead world all make for an exciting story—one that is brought alive by the acting of Owen and Caine. If I were to go any further into the plot I’d wreck the experience. What I can say is that the expected story line set up by the directors and writers is constantly shattered. This is a movie that is not to be missed.
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