2006 Running time: 109 Certificate: 15 Rating: 3

Synopsis

It's London, 2027 and humanity is on the verge of extinction. Immigrants are being rounded up into cages and kicked out of the country, while it's been 18 years since the last human child was born anywhere on the planet. When Clive Owen's former activist, Theo, is asked to help a young immigrant woman leave the country, he has no idea exactly how important - and dangerous - his quest will become. Julianne Moore and Michael Caine co-star in Alfonso Cuaron's seriously gripping dystopian thriller.

Director

  • Alfonso Cuarón

Cast

  • Clive Owen

  • Julianne Moore

  • Michael Caine

  • Clare-Hope Ashitey

  • Chiwetel Ejiofor

  • Charlie Hunnam

Review

The future is bleak, according to Alfonso Cuaron's latest outing, a big budget tale of a dastardly government and humanity's self destruction.

For reasons not fully explained, women can no longer give birth. In 2008 most pregnant women miscarried, and by 2009 they stopped conceiving entirely.

Meanwhile, anyone not of British heritage is rounded up like cattle and forced into cages to await deportation or, worse still, a place in Bexhill.

When we meet Theo (Owen), it's a grey, rainy day in a very dirty London. The year is 2027, and the world doesn't look too different from today.

Theo's ordering a coffee as a number of commuters crowd around a TV set to hear news of the death of the world's youngest boy - an 18-year old who was stabbed for refusing to sign an autograph.

As he leaves the coffee shop, the place explodes. Was it the activists, fighting to stop the deportations, or the government - intent on controlling citizens using fear tactics?

Theo doesn't care - he's happy to sit in his office quietly working, or hang out with his old friend, Jasper (Michael Caine), a hippy-like recluse with a penchant for pot and old rock music.

That is until an old flame from his activist days crops up, requesting that Theo help with the secret deportation of Kee (Claire-Hope Ashitey), an immigrant with a difference - she's the first woman to conceive a child in nearly two decades.

The story closely follows Theo and his efforts to secure the safety of Kee, and, frustratingly, never reveals quite why things are as they are.

For all intents and purposes, this is a road movie, which explains the lack of insight into where the world went wrong - but such is Theo's anti-hero nature, it's difficult to comprehend quite why he is so as intent on completing his mission.

In spite of the unlikely plot, Cuaron has come up with an incredible vision of the future that is utterly convincing. The use of technology against the backdrop of a decaying, grey London is the film's greatest strength, while a climactic scene involving a battle and one particular long take will not fail to impress.

It's a disturbing tale that is exceptionally uncomfortable to watch because it's almost believable in spite of how ludicrous it first appears.

As immigrants are shuffled into Bexhill, a small sign reading 'Homeland Security' sits above the entrance a reminder as to what the world would be like if Daily Express readers get their way.

Rich Phippen

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