Depending on how you count, there are only 9 interfaces in Children of Men. This makes sense because it’s not one of those Gee-Whiz-Can-You-Believe-the-Future technofests like Forbidden Planet or Minority Report. Children of Men is a social story about the hopelessness of a world without children, so the small number of interfaces—and even the way they are underplayed—is wholly appropriate to the theme. Given such a small number, you would not expect them to be as spectacular as they are. Or maybe you would. I don’t know how you roll.
Sci: A (4 of 4) How believable are the interfaces?
The interfaces are wholly believable, given the diegesis. Technology is focused on security, transportation, and distracting entertainment, which is exactly what you’d expect. Nothing breaks physics or reason.
The only ding is that Quietus could have included some nod to its reimbursement promise, and that’s so minor it only reveals itself as a problem after deep consideration. It doesn’t break the flow of the film.
Fi: A (4 of 4) How well do the interfaces inform the narrative of the story?
All of the interfaces point back in some way to the world that created them and help move the story along. Security is everywhere. Jasper cobbles together technology to help his resistance. Suicide is a government-sanctioned option.
Interfaces: A- (4 of 4)
How well do the interfaces equip the characters to achieve their goals?
- Luke’s HUD is a little slow, considering that its job is to help avoid collisions.
- Jasper’s Home Alarm could do more to help its occupants respond effectively to the alarm.
- The Music Player isn’t very readable at a distance.
These are the main three issues that mar an otherwise very well-considered set of interfaces and technologies.
Final Grade A (12 of 12), Blockbuster.
It’s rare that a film’s interfaces get a full blockbuster rating on this site. The only other one at the time of publication is The Fifth Element. And while I take pains to rate the interfaces as distinct from the movie, I’m pleased when such a brilliant (yet, ironically, dark) film includes brilliant interfaces as well.