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Best of the Decade #19

Best of the Decade #19

Children of Men didn’t really have a “best of the decade” pedigree. An unusually large team of five writers was credited with adapting P.D. James’s dystopic novel for the screen, and the ouevre of director Alfonso Cuarón hardly suggested his potential for greatness, despite the reputation for technical inventiveness he had earned with respectable middlebrow fare like Y tu mama tambien, A Little Princess, and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Universal Pictures didn’t do any favors to this already inauspicious project, releasing it at the tail end of 2006 without investing in the kind of publicity—a blitz of long-lead press screenings, a vigorous Oscar push—that might have led to major awards or even a modicum of buzz. And the studio saddled it with a truly awful trailer, which started with a leaden voiceover from Clive Owen’s Theo, “I can’t really remember when I last had any hope. And I certainly can’t remember when anyone else did, either. Because really, since women stopped being able to have babies, what’s left to hope for?” After that glib marketing campaign, Children of Men felt like a real discovery—and a punch in the gut. It seemed to come out of nowhere. Read Chris Wisniewski on Children of Men.

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