I wouldn't say this is the best movie I've ever seen, but its close. The enthusiasm of many of the reviews of this picture is entirely justified. Though it is unlikely to make anyone feel 'good', it will offer a thought provoking and chillingly plausible vision of a world sliding into despair. The pseudo-documentary camera work is slightly jarring at times, but lends further weight to the film's sense of being grounded in a realist tradition.
The most outstanding thing in this film is the utter realism it achieves through extended shots that seem to run forever, but never lose excitement. I don't have to tell anyone the two most amazing shots in the film that use this. If you've seen it, you know. If you haven't, you will. The tale of post-apocalyptic London and the dismal future of the world is nothing new. But the depiction of the "near-future" in "Children of Men" is so subtle and organic; it comes across surrealistically.... real. It allows the viewer to look past the time and focus on the story. (We've all seen enough films that show us the bright and shiny, flashy as Epcot Center, future) It's nice to see this done so well while still being interesting and unsullied. Another thing I loved about this film was that it didn't try to explain what happened like often happens in sci-fi movies, this is very plot driven, they just show you the landscape and tell you the situation and move on. I also liked that on the extremes of either side of the political landscape in this movie they where more or less the same, just on side had power and the other none. I thought that was very true about most of life, with the people in the middle just kind of caught up in it all.
As for the performances, I thought Michael Caine shines as the eccentric hippie who lovingly attends to his disabled wife and Clive Owen extends himself as the chain smoking hero who doesn't need a cache of firearms to justify this mantle. Julianne Moore is typically excellent as the leader of the terrorist group and there are a few cameos such as Peter Mullan as the gruff and pragmatic soldier Syd. "Children of Men" definitely has heart. In a gritty war-torn scene of violence, to see the hearts of men and women so touched by the sight of a child made me slightly tear up. I am filled with admiration for Alfonso Cuarón - he is truly a visionary and while I don't particularly like what he shows us here, he expresses it with intense artistry. In the end, for all its action and excitement, this film is about the heart of humanity, If not the survival of it.