It is once again time for the LAMB (largeassmovieblogs.com) Movie of the Month poll, and I have again championed Children of Men. Last month Children of Men received a respectable 16% of the vote to be Movie of the Month, but that was only good enough to finish in third place. As part of the campaign I ran last month I did a blog post giving 5 reasons (not including its cinematography and tracking shots) why Children of Men is one of cinema’s greatest entries. This month I am giving three more reasons (once again not including the cinematography/tracking shots because that would be too easy):
6. The Supporting Cast
While some of the first things I noticed about Children of Men were its cinematography, phenomenal direction courtesy of Alfonso Cuaron and its interesting messages, the thing that makes me keep on coming to this film is its amazing supporting cast. Despite many of the actors in the supporting cast not getting much screen time, many of them leave a major impact. For instance, Julianne Moore’s performance leaves a mark that carries on throughout the entire film despite her character meeting a shocking demise early on. Peter Mullan and Danny Huston make the most of their cameo performances too. Even Chiwetel Ejiofer fits this description. He plays the villain of the film, but he’s not onscreen very often. Yet he is able to create a complex villain and is even able to get a moment of sympathy out of the audience. The other supporting actors such as Pam Ferris and Claire-Hope Ashitey do a great job of making sure everything in their performance is in service of the film (which is surprising in the case of Ashitey as this film is her American film debut). However, it is Michael Caine who is the stalwart of the supporting cast. This is a Michael Caine we have rarely seen before (high on marijuana and the lone source of comic relief in this dark film), and yet he nails it.
7. The Sound Design
While talking about Alfonso Cuaron in my first edition of this piece, I mentioned how he utilized silence well in the scene with the baby in the middle of the battlefield. While this was a perfect choice by Alfonso Cuaron, it is also a great example of how effective the entire sound design of this film was. From the silence of that seen to the loudness of chaos in the middle of a motorcycle ambush to the unnerving use of ambience effects, the sounds (or lack of in come cases) of this film were astounding. Even the inclusion of music was perfectly synced up with the rest of the sounds, which leads me to my next point…
8. The Use of Music
One of the most effective and most memorable components of this film was the use of “Ruby Tuesday”. It was a strange choice at first, but the film kept on bringing the song back throughout its runtime. Every time it was used it seemed to become more intertwined with the DNA of the film. By the end of the film, it seemed that nothing (not even the greatest score ever composed) could replace the use of this song. Yet this was not the only great use of music in the film. As the film rolls to credits it begins to play a song that has children laughing in the background. It’s a perfect touch to that memorable ending.