Realism in Children of Men

The film “Children of Men” [Caurón 2006] explores themes relating to post 9/11 warfare, terrorism, and governmental inhumanity. The plot develops to show an overwhelming and oppressive government which terrorizes its citizens. The main characters in the film have an intense fear and dislike of their government, and are quickly labeled as terrorists after they clash with police officers. This alludes to the efforts of the West to combat terrorism after the events of 9/11. In many countries, such as the United States, these efforts were directed both domestically and internationally. Frequently, citizens felt as if their rights were being infringed upon, as the government used anti-terrorism efforts to justify its increased presence in citizens’ lives and to breach certain laws in the name of national security.

Furthermore, the fighting scenes at the end of the film could easily be set in modern day Iraq or Afghanistan to portray the guerrilla warfare being used to eliminate insurgents, often times at the expense of innocent civilian lives. The weapons and battle tactics shown also seem to mirror those that one would see in a film about the Gulf Wars, despite the fact that this film takes place in 2027. This is one of many examples of the presence of realism in Children of Men. The world created by its writers is one that is not unbelievably far from what it is like to live in certain parts of the world. The style of warfare, along with the prevalence of civilian casualties shown in the film, is common in many parts of the Middle East right now.

Another example of an allusion to the political and militaristic setting of the post 9/11 world is evidenced by the refugee camps depicted in Children of Men. The images shown are reminiscent of Abu Ghraib Prison and Guantanamo Bay, two facilities where alleged terrorists were sent to be detained. They were often unlawfully tortured in order to gain intelligence, despite the fact that most of them did not have a fair trial. There was an extreme and inhumane abuse of power as American officers abused prisoners at these facilities, this abuse was in many ways similar to the officers’ violence towards the detainees in Children of Men.

Overall, the film seems to allude to themes of corrupt, violent and untrustworthy government in the post 9/11 world. This fictional world also draws parallels to modern society in its depiction of the painful and complex dynamic of a terror-ridden nation, where the loss of innocent human lives is frequent.

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