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Monday, 23 January 2012

Thriller assignment Codes and Convention

The film Children Of Men is about the human race going extinct in 2027, as the female race has become infertile. The world is dying as each country is facing problems such as terrorism or the riots and immigration has become a crime (this was told in the scene where Theo was on the train heading to Jasper's house, there was a close up shot of the TV screen showing countries in crisis). However the plot is that Kee, a young pregnant woman, is the last person on earth to have a child. She is on a journey to a sanctuary at sea to the Human Project. Where scientists will use Kee's baby to save the humankind from going extinct, the baby is the only hope.
Children Of Men is a close mystery, where the audience have limited information about what is going on. Alfonso Cuaron filmed Children Of Men in the style where the audience follows Theo in his journey. Moreover the film is made personal to Theo as they have used a variety of shots such as panning, where the audience can see old photos and newspapers. Along Kee said to Theo she knows about his child Dylan that died from the flu. From there the audience would know that Theo would understand what kee is going through and how much the baby means to her from personal experience. Which turns Kee child as the McGuffin within the story, as Baby Diego was the last person to be born and he was born in 2009, 18 years ago.  His death affected everyone as his death was on the news and everyone was crying, it shows how much his age value to everyone as the may see him as a remaining hope to humanity. So the existent of Kee child is strongly valuable and it makes the child like god. Nevertheless in the film most people have not seen a baby in years, forgetting how beautiful it is, so when they saw Kee baby everyone was touched, giving them hope and a nostalgic feeling. For example when Kee and Theo leave the building, everyone stopped the shooting and the running; everyone just stopped whatever they were doing. That scene was in slow motion, exaggerating the feel of hope, making it dramatic so the audience can see how much the baby appearance affect the humankind. Nevertheless within the film they made the product “Quietus” appear few times, even has its own scene (When Theo in Jasper house, on the sofa leg on the table. Theo was out of focus and Quietus was on the right hand corner in full focus). Quietus is a suicidal kit that was advertised, as in 2027 most people was depressed or there no more meaning to live on. So Quietus comes in to their life, as they can use it as an easy way out. It was seen again in a touching moment where Jasper uses Quietus on his wife and dog, where he knew clearly he would die when Luke the antagonist trespassed into his house in searching for Theo and Kee.  
It is an interesting story as the twist and turn is it creates Theatre of the mind for the audience, for example the human project does not sound very convincing, seems like a government organization idea which may cause bad things to happen. Along whether there is hope for the human kind as at the end Kee thought they were too late but at the very last second of the film the ship came and the humankind was able to have children’s once again. Though in the story some characters played mind trick on Kee the protagonist, she is protected by a group of people who want to use her for something else. They decided to keep Kee pregnancy as a secret to the world by creating fear for Kee during that group meeting especially that fact that they are all immigrants. Yet near the end where her baby was public, she was treated like a god where her nationality did not matter. However she does not know who to trust within the story except Theo the unaware Hero. He got involved in protecting Kee by Julian his former lover (who worked as a Donor within the story), by giving him a sum of money in which he needed. Though when Julian died he generally has no reason to continue in helping Kee as he was only told to get her a pass, yet he continue to help Kee to the end which lead him to sacrifice his own life. However when Theo and Kee was in Bexhill the helper Marichka, they did not understand her nor does she really understand them yet she helped them through their remaining journey to the sea. It is quite interesting how she manage to communicate with them that Syd the false hero is actually bad considering how they cannot really understand each other.         

To make the world seem grim in 2027 they filmed the film in mainly dull colours, such as grey. To give out an atmosphere that the world is dying and there not much happiness is going around, even the costumes was mainly dull colours. To add on to the atmosphere the dialogue is also mainly spoken negatively, such as when Jasper asked Theo what he did for his birthday and he replied with he did nothing and felt like crap like usually. Also to capture the audience emotion, they made countless scene where Theo see tons of immigrant locked in cages, treated badly, calling for mercy in their native language or get shot, a wide range of age, no mercy being shown. Showing how brutal the world has become, especially the scene where Theo sat next to an old lady on the bus to Bexhill. She try to communicate with him asking for food and the old man behind did the same, from there it shows that these people was not treated well and is generally left to die. It is a depressing moment as they do not even care for the elderly no more. In away it is not much different to the way the Nazi once treated the Jews in concentration camp.  Nevertheless the music chosen for this film fits well with the scenes and moments as they choose orchestral and choir/ church music, which made the scene even more emotional. I believe church music/choir music was chosen to make it seem religious in away. Such as the fact that Jesus died on the cross as sacrifice in hoping god will forgive the humankind, showing mercy and a shine of hope. So when the sorrowful music played it would make it the audience think in Theo place that think what are people doing to the world and why, along reminding them. Such as when Kee and Theo walked out of the building with the baby and everyone froze, seeing the baby made people once again remember and on the line rethink what they are doing along feeling nostalgic. Showing that there is hope for the human kind, as the music works both ways. Such as in the end where the ship came for Kee the music play again, representing there is hope, there is future and that god is watching. As the film ended in a black out but you can hear children’s laughter, from there everybody will know that the world is in peace again and there was hope. This creates a sigh of relief and happiness at the end.    
 However Alfonso Cuaron builds up suspense in an unexpected way, which catches the audience full attention. For example the scene where Julian and Theo was playing about in the car with the ping pong ball, it made the scene emotional and happy as they were having fun. Until the sudden appearance of a car on fire came down from the hill and a rage of people rushing out from the forest, in attempt to kill them but they only managed to kill Julian. It was a sudden rushing scene, where the audience had little time to adjust to it. Making it a tense moment, where it left the audience shocked and speechless. Within the film they mainly used long shots and close up along point of view shot. I personally think they used these shots the most to show the audience the surrounding of the area on how beaten down it is and how Theo see things. Giving the audience an understanding of the current situation he is in, putting the audience in his shoes.  Such as the scene where Theo in Bexhill where he and Kee got separated, he chases after her to the building that was under attack, that scene was the longest long shot scene. That part gave out a strong feeling of life or death situation, making the audience on the edge of their seat, thinking if Theo would live to the end. Along showing to the audience in detail of how run down the area is and what people have to live through. In a way that feeling they produced is quite similar to the film Shutter Island where Teddy goes into a ward where it was dark and he had to lit up matchsticks to see. It builds up tension on whether he would die or live through it and what may happen next.

According to the BBFC Children Of Men is categorised as a 15. As generation moves on swearing and bloody violence becomes nothing, though back in the olden days the swearing would have been a huge deal. Adding bloody violence to it may have made the film to be rated as an 18 back then. Though since it is a 15 I personally think that the film is suitable for young 15 where they just turned 15. I personally think it is aimed around older 15 year olds and older, as they would be more mature around that period, where they would understand the outside world more. Such as the scene where the audience can actually see Kee giving birth, quite a graphic scene. This scene is allowed as by the age of 15 kids will have learnt about sex education and should be mature enough about it. Such as nudity, they saw Kee breast when she shows Theo that she is pregnant. It is ok as it does not reveal more than her breast or else it would be counted at pornography. Also by the age of 15 kids will be mature enough to think wisely as they will be at the stage where they choose what they want to do in life, whether going to college and what course to do or going to work.
Moreover the scene where Theo uses a brick to smash Syd face when trying to escape shows imitable behaviour. I personally think it is an 18 rated scene even if there is only one scene. As anyone can accomplish that and kids around age 15 is the year where they learn a lot about the adult world, so this scene may cause them to copy and do it themselves. Even though there is a lot of violence within this film, the audience don’t exactly see all of it, the audience will know from the situation they see and the stuff they hear such as the cry and scream.  Though the main thing the audience sees the most, are people military people with guns or normal citizens/immigrants with guns, fighting for survival (abit like the riots that happen in 2011). Which is not too bad as most action films are like that and people with common sense knows that it is not easy to gain a gun. 
 As for discrimination within this film there not much to say, as this film is about illegal immigrant living in the UK. So it does make this film is discriminating but the audience know the reason why therefore it is not offending along it is also based on the future. Therefore most people would not believe it or take it seriously.  Moreover this film would most likely to be broadcast around 9pm onwards, where most young children would be asleep. Due to the violence and storyline, it is not suitable for them to watch at all as it may scare children's and it may make them cry or affect them deeply.  

Overall Children Of Men is an dystopia thriller, where the future is only filled with negativity. Such as how they have famous artist piece of art there, for example Banksy gay police one and the statue of David. This was seen where Theo meet his cousin. It shows that the countries icon does not matter anymore to people, like it is worthless and has no meaning. Alfonso Cuaron must have got copyright for it as it is real life art and for year’s people try to protect it and preserve it for the next generation. It is quite sad how the made the art end up in Theo cousin house and slightly broken.  However the target audience would be people who generally like disaster movies and realistic films. This film came out in 2006 and back in 2005 BBC news broadcasted a news about females in the UK is turning infertile, where one out of seven women will have problems but it can rise up to one in three women. Which happens the film was also set in the UK and females became more infertile as the years goes on, Alfonso Cuaron may have based the film through this information. Which makes the film realistic and people may believe it. Such as from personal experience, I have a friend who really wants children’s so when she watched this film she burst out in tears and got ridiculously scared. Therefore I do not really recommend this film to people who want children’s a lot. As it may create fear for them and may lead them to do something stupid. 

For more information about the BBC infertility article- http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4112450.stm

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