Biblical References in Children of Men

This might be a little far-fetched, but maybe the infertility could be somewhat, if at all, similar to the 10 plagues inflicted upon the Egyptians due to the Pharoah’s mistreatment of the Israelites. Maybe there is a higher power telling the people of the world that if we cannot treat each other in a certain manner, whether that be with respect, decency, kindness, or something else altogether, then we do not deserve to have more children. The plagues inflicted on the Israelites were the Pharaoh’s punishment. I might be forcing connections here, but I viewed several similarities between the 10 plagues and some of the events in Children of Men. The 10 biblical plagues are: water turning into blood, hordes of frogs, a lice epidemic, wild animals destroying livestock and crops, diseased livestock, boils, hail, locusts, darkness, and finally the death of the firstborn. Clearly, not all of these happened in Children of Men, but I do however see some similarities. Although there was no blood in the water, in the few shots of the water we did see, for example when the pipes were letting out the liquid or fluid on the side of the road, the “water” was clearly not potable. It might have actually been contaminated with blood (from the piles of dead cows in the nearby area). Which brings me to my next comparison. Diseased livestock was the fifth plague. Periodically throughout the film, I noticed various piles of burning livestock animals. This could be symbolic of the diseased livestock mentioned in the plague. The plague exterminated the Egyptian livestock. It seemed like the majority, if not all of the livestock, of the U.K. had been exterminated as well. The ninth plague was three days of total darkness. Clearly, there was night and day throughout the movie, but the overarching theme of the movie, or the main color scheme seemed to be dark or gloomy. I related this to the plague of darkness. I would also go so far as to equate depression with darkness. There were definitely feelings of depression, melancholy, and hopelessness. There is even a drug in the film that helps people commit suicide due to the dire situation that is their world. It seemed as if darkness and gloominess are both literal and metaphorical themes throughout the movie. And finally, the tenth plague was the death of the firstborn. This does not happen in Children of Men. In the beginning of the movie, Diego Ricardo, the world’s youngest person, died. His death was very significant because he was the last born of the entire world. So it is a bit backwards, but I think the sentiment is still there. Also, in Children of Men, there is no opportunity for a firstborn to actually be born. “All-borns” are killed before even having the opportunity to exist.

Realism in Children of Men

One of the most impressive aspects about this movie, in my opinion, was how adamantly insistent Cuaron was about maintaining realism throughout the film. The most obvious example of this was his decision to use multiple long shots, or long takes, throughout the film. Minimizing the amount of editing to be done made me feel as if I were watching everything firsthand, standing right behind Theo. The other long shot that stood out to me was towards the end of the film when Theo was searching for Key in the deserted building. The long shot with the camera following him down the hallway once again puts the viewer right in the action with the characters. This long shot made me feel as if I myself was looking for Kee.

I also noticed another example of his dedication to realism when we were watching the interview with him during class. When he was discussing filming the car scene in particular, he mentioned that the use of green screens had been suggested. HIs response really stood out to me. Cuaron said that he did not want to use green screens because he wanted the natural light and natural shadows of the trees to be portrayed in his film.

The Soundtrack of Children of Men

Cuarón uses sound and music to bring this dystopian world of infertility, illegal immigration, and societal collapse to life. He uses many different genres of music that indirectly comment on the society and events happening around them.  When looking at the titles of the songs alone, you can see the direct relation it has to this movie.  In “The Court of the Crimson King” by King Crimson there is a lyric that says, “The keeper of the city keys/Put shutters on the dreams.” I interpreted the meaning as those in power limit the people’s freedom. This is playing while the camera pans over protesters who are yelling about infertility and illegal immigrants are in a cage. It’s a direct relation and perfect addition to the image. “Hush” by Deep Purple has a line that says, “Whenever in doubt, turn off your mind, relax, float downstream.” The lyrics were based on a book on death that argues that psychedelic drugs is essentially similar to the dying process and requires similar guidance, Jasper would smoke often and this lyric correlates to that as well as the suicide drug, Quietus. The one song that stuck out the most was “Ruby Tuesday” by The Rolling Stones just because it was the most obvious connection the movie had with song choice. The lyrics where eerily related. There is a stanza that has the words,

“Still I’m gonna miss you…
Don’t question why she needs to be so free
She’ll tell you it’s the only way to be
She just can’t be chained
To a life where nothing’s gained
And nothing’s lost
At such a cost
Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday”

Jared’s wife is unresponsive and almost trapped in her own body. Not only she is trapped in herself but everyone seems trapped in this world “where nothing’s gained and nothing’s lost.” At this time Jared feeds her the suicide pill and in an ultimate goodbye and setting her free. The music is one of many parts to the movie that can be analyzed. Cuaróns use of music really helped me connect with this movie on a deeper level and love it even more.