Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Children of Men

I was riding the subway home today and an idea struck me. It was a stupid idea, but I think I might run with it anyway.

I was thinking about film, about some of the movies that I have seen recently. It occurred to me that, in many cases, the things that I felt some movies tried to develop or the methods they tried to use were cool, but "Children of Men" did them better. This is true of a lot of things: the commitment to a single character in "Juno" and the reliance on that connection for emotional development, the subjective sound in nearly every war movie, the camera angles and motions in "Cloverfield" meant to immerse us in a world, the commitment to realism and grittiness totally missing from "The Golden Compass" and halfway done correctly in "I Am Legend," the bleak dystopia with rays of hope so idiotically mishandled in "Escape from New York" and "The Omega Man," and so on.

What this left me with was a sense of how "Children of Men" tied together some of the most interesting things in the world of cinema, did them expertly, and innovated to make them work even better. It also left me with the notion that I should try to tackle some of these elements in micro-specific movie reviews, or, as some people know them, essays.

I know, I am in no position to be able to commit time to such an endeavor, an endeavor that could end up the size of a critical treatise. I also have no formal training in cinema, it's critical analysis, etc. But when I watch this film (something that I do relatively regularly), these big ideas pop out and I feel like I want to develop them.

For instance, shoes. Watching what shoes Theo wears as the movie progresses gives us insight into his character. Or staging: Theo's physical position mirrors his emotional position in relation to other characters in many scenes. The use of negative space, the one-scene encapsulated commentaries on art, medicine, or education, the scenery as analysis of the relationship between man and his world...

It's all there. And I want to write about all of it. So... time permitting, I'm gonna. You know, at some point. Not necessarily soon, but in general.

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