And the year was 2027, or maybe it’s 2010. Either one sounds futuristic to me. The plotline of “Children of Men” is a kind of human-wide claustrophobia. The world becomes infertile. This is the last generation that will be. The near future is limited. The far future is dead.
And strangely, it is not the plot that causes the film to feel so devastatingly cocooning; no, it is the view we are permitted. When the film was released, it immediately gained applause for its ingeniusly long shots. But besides exhibiting cinematic excellence, these 10-minute-plus camera takes without cuts don’t let us breathe. You are not given even that fraction of a one second cut-to in which to gain your composure. You are stuck.
And this is the real world, is it not? We are blind and stuck on a path with no future. How excrutiatingly bleak this earth is. The dog I laughed at yesterday while walking in the park may be gone today. As far as I know he has no future. The tortured soul, the remorseful killer, the daydreaming teen with a heart condition, the betrayed, the diseased – they all fit in here.
And despite all this, despite our lack of future, we are not claustrophobic. We dance tonight, work tomorrow, and drink to wash our cares away. We dance next week, work, then drink our concerns away. We dance next month, work, then drink our lives away. And when we grow tired of the rhythm, we find a new drum beat.
And there is nothing to do. There is nothing really to fight for, for there's nothing really to be gained. Why aren’t we more depressed? Why don’t we scream more? We should. We should form some form of initiative. We should find a way out button. We should unite to do something, anything to keep the future from imploding in. But we don’t. We don't notice how crowded it is. We sit back and ignore the ever dwindling dimensions of our room.
But there is a rumor of hope; a hope beyond. Oh God, if it’s true! The great hope, the great Tomorrow! Oh God!
If only we embraced the hope. If only.