The 2006 film, Children of Men, was based off a 1992 novel by P.D. James. The film explores a post apocolyptic landscape where the world has been thrown into chaos with the exception of Britian. Women have become infertile and the future of humanity seems to be ‘up in the air’. The reasons for the infertility are only hinted by playing on some of our modern day fears such as; “mad cow” disease (shown by cattle burning in fields), or pollution, etc.
What is striking about the film is that the world has become utter chaos, not by a devastating catastrophe, or even really the infertility itself, yet by humanity’s view of the future. By this, I mean, that humans “see” no future, they cannot project themselves ahead in time and have lost hope in themselves in the present.
With Britain as the only country intact, we see that a totalitarian form of government has been established. On the outskirts of the establishment, what can been seen throughout most of the film, the people live in a dirty, almost wretched environment. In the center of the establshment, everything is pristine, and it appears as if life goes on untouched by the chaos that surrounds it. There is an unmistakable class dispararity.
Immigration issues are at the center of the film, where the struggle over resources causes immigrants to be branded as subhuman. They have traveled to the country for order, even if it is totatlitarian, yet they are met with heavy resistance. Immigrants are beaten, killed, riduculed, etc. Everywhere there is the maintainance of “us” and “them”, for example, the interior of the establishment are the more wealthy “us”, the further out it goes the less “us” it becomes, until it reaches the coast, where it is mainly “them” (the immigrants), and beyond is a world of “them” and chaos.
What appears to be a cynical take on the future could really be an exaggerated critique on the present. All the strife that makes up the world in 2027 (when the movie takes place) are really issues that face humanity now, such as; immigration, environmental devistation, totalitarianism, poverty, racism, and various forms of power struggles. The only real difference is that there is no human future in the film. Humans can’t imagine themselves in the future because of the infertility, this gives them an anxiety that causes them to escalate what they’ve always been doing.