Working from a screenplay he co-wrote (based on P.D. James' novel), director Alfonso Cuarón paints a gritty, paranoid, and occasionally hopeful picture. He draws on modern anxieties about war, terrorism, immigration, race, class, pollution, and technology. The group's struggle to reach the Human Project includes some of the most graphic, gripping, and engrossing filmmaking in recent memory. Cuarón's documentary-style camera work brings the viewer right into the violent action.
Caine's character is a bright spot -- though caring for his catatonic wife in isolation, he remains cheerful and passionate, enjoying food, music, and occasional company with heartfelt glee (helped along, perhaps, by the large quantities of marijuana that he smokes). The movie's abrupt ending, while disorienting at first, offers relief from the film's intensity. Dark, intense and violent, Children of Men is most certainly not for kids -- and even most teens. Pregnant women and new parents also might want to avoid it, due to the focus on threats to children and the intense birth scene.