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Here's One Reason Not to Look Forward to 2027

With mentions on a lot of 10 Best lists (mine included), Alfonzo Cuaron's The Children of Men is starting to look like a dark-horse candidate in the Oscar sweepstakes. Despite its depiction of a suddenly futureless humankind -- the year is 2027 and no woman anywhere on the planet has given birth in more than 18 years -- the film opened to robust business and terrific reviews in a few major cities on Christmas Day. Now, it's opening wider so the whole country can share in the misery, which is to say, in the excitement, because Children of Men is a breath-stealing chase film for much of its length. And happily, a plot twist revealed early on (and in the trailers) suggests things may not be quite as hopeless as they initially seem. That said, the portrait of a world in crisis -- of a comparatively secure society protecting what it has through draconian measures, and of a populace turning on itself as the rule of law is eroded -- is pretty haunting if you read the newspapers these days. And if I'm doing the math right -- 2027 minus 18 -- it all starts going haywire in just two years.

Bob Mondello regularly reviews movies for NPR.

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Bob Mondello
Bob Mondello, who jokes that he was a jinx at the beginning of his critical career — hired to write for every small paper that ever folded in Washington, just as it was about to collapse — saw that jinx broken in 1984 when he came to NPR.