A woman named Kee is the first woman to become pregnant in over 18 years, and she is caught inbetween this authoritarian government and a group of radical terrorists. Theo Faron, a former activist who has become a cog in the authoritarian machine, becomes her unlikely escort in the bleak landscape of a world collapsing under its own hopelessness. As a chase movie, Children of Men is brilliantly executed, particularly in a handful of action sequences shot in spectacularly long single takes. The violence and tension of these scenes has a visceral impact. It feels real—this movie has some really well-rehearsed extras.
The best of these sequences occurs at the end, as Theo, Kee, and the newborn child run through a war zone. During a lull in the fighting, the warring factions stop to let them pass through, gazing in awe at the only child they've seen in years. For a brief second, we think that the fighting will stop, and things will finally go back to normal—and then, precisely at the moment that we think the peace may last, it is interrupted by gunfire, and Kee and Theo must once again run to escape the battle. The old world is consuming itself, and even the prospect of a new age cannot stop it from self-destructing.
The apocalypticism of Children of Men, much like the previously-discussed The Road and World War Z, describes the destruction of the current world only as a preamble to the construction of the old one. Like Revelation, CoM is ultimately optimistic. It recaptures the sense of apocalypticism as a radical statement in opposition to the injustices of the current order. We can build the New Jerusalem, but only after Babylon has destroyed itself. Unlike the pro-middle class end times of Left Behind, this film is a condemnation of the oppressive institutions that keep us from achieving paradise on earth. Fallen is Babylon the mighty, Children of Men says. Good riddance—now let's get to work.
For more on the radicalism of Revelation, please read my overview of The Omen and Left Behind at The Revealer.