Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB.
USA/United Kingdom, 2006. Universal Pictures, Strike Entertainment, Hit & Run Productions, Ingenious Film Partners 2, Toho-Towa. Screenplay by Alfonso Cuaron, Timothy J. Sexton, David Arata, Mark Fergus, Hawk Ostby, based on the novel by P.D. James. Cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki. Produced by Marc Abraham, Eric Newman, Hilary Shor, Iain Smith, Tony Smith. Music by John Tavener. Production Design by Jim Clay, Geoffrey Kirkland. Costume Design by Jany Temime. Film Editing by Alfonso Cuaron, Alex Rodriguez.
It’s 2027 and for eighteen years women have been unable to conceive children, submerging the entire world into a hopeless mess of crime and chaos. Britain is the one place in the world that hasn’t gone up in flames, creating a huge problem with illegal immigration that has turned the nation into a fascist police state with the most intolerant attitude towards foreigners. A former bureaucrat (Clive Owen), now living in despair, is approached by his ex-wife (Julianne Moore), who is now the leader of a terrorist group fighting for the rights of refugees, to help her out on a particular mission: her group needs to help escort a young woman to safety who has the possible solution to all of humanity’s problems, and Owen’s connections to the government could provide the travel papers needed to do it. This intriguing, classy thriller benefits from superb direction by Alfonso Cuaron, who does a fantastic job of creating a convincing future that is grim and bleak but never without a glimmer of love and hope. It moves along smoothly without ever hitting a bump, but it is hampered by a plot that is never quite intense enough (though it is at times beautifully moving) and two lackluster performances: Owen looks like he’s sleepwalking through his brilliant-but-bitter British angry man, and Moore seems distracted, while the supporting cast is made up of familiar cliches who prevent you from ever really caring about what is happening onscreen. Looks great, though, with cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki outdoing himself yet again.
Academy Award Nominations: Best Adapted Screenplay; Best Cinematography; Best Film Editing
Venice Film Festival Award: Best Cinematography