One Shot

Children of Men is an extremely action packed film, full of fight scenes, large battles, and tons of explosions. With all this chaos, it took me awhile to realize that the film consists of practically less than a dozen shots. I didn’t realize this until the end scene where Theo is running through the apartment building that is being shelled by the tank in the streets. As he ran from one piece of cover to the next, the camera stay right over his shoulder and tracks with him. The perspective is very similar to a third-person viewpoint in a video game. We follow him very closely, and we feel completely immersed in the action.

After noticing the lack of shots in this scene, I went back and reviewed the film, and there’s practically no cuts during any action scene. Another notable example is the car chase where Julian gets shot. This is a very different style for such a recent film. Most modern films utilize many quick cuts to convey action, and only allow us brief, frantic glimpses of the violence. Children of Men, however, puts us in the car with our heroes, and leaves us there. We’re caught in the blood-splatter as Julian’s head violently jerks back after she is shot, and we stay by her side as Theo tries to apply pressure to her neck. This tactic makes us feel like we are apart of the scene with the characters. We don’t get a chance to escape the pursued car;  we’re forced to stay in it and share the same fate as the characters within. This novel approach was widely praised, and I think it added an excellent element to the film and heightened the experience.

What would the film have lost if a different director has used more rapid cuts?


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