Cinematography in Children of Men

In Children of Men the cinematography is notable, particularly the use of long shots. The film was shot with very long takes where the camera doesn’t cut but moves from set up to set up often lining up three or four set ups in one take. The chase scene in the car is much admired because of  the use of the doggicam rig created for the film allows the camera to move around the inside of the car. The camera work in this scene puts the viewer in the car – we feel the danger. We are put in the action and stay in the action. The camera does not cut away so we understand the anxiety of the characters in the car. It is because that we share the anxiety of the characters that this scene has so much impact. Cutting from the car to the chasing mob and shooting the car from the outside would be less intense and separate us from the characters in the car.

Another sequence to discuss is the “blood on the lens” one. The blood is actually on screen for about two minutes. This is also a long shot and handheld cameras are used. Once again the camera stays with our characters and doesn’t cut away to tanks and explosions and the like. We stay with Theo – when he hides, we hide, we do as he does.  It does have the feeling of reportage. This helps to pull us into the action and keeps us focussed on the character and not on the action.

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