Beautifully bleak, Alfonso Cuarón's Children of Men (2005) presents a societal collapse painted in tones of brown and grey with the occasional spatter of blood red. Set nearly twenty years after the birth of the last surviving baby, civilization is crumbling under the weight of hopelessness and fury. In the United Kingdom, immigrants and refugees suffer the wrath of Fascist Britain. The privileged class may have food and lodging, but even their plight is ultimately hopeless, so the government hands out free euthanasia kits. After all, a world without children is a world without a future, so why go on?
In the midst of this doomed landscape we meet Theo Faron (Clive Owen), a middle-class divorcee who finds himself dragged into the role of guardian to the first pregnant woman, Kee (Clare-Hope Ashitey). Faron didn't ask for this job, but he understands its importance, and shepherds Kee and her baby through the hellish landscape that is rubble-strewn Britain. The journey is fraught with violence and betrayal as the decay of civil society seems to accelerate around Faron and Kee, until they are caught up in a vicious urban street battle that seems a precursor to all-out war. The end is nigh.
That end comes at sea, in the frigid waters of the English Channel, in the pale red light of a blinking buoy. There is death, but there is also hope - if there can be hope at all for this ruined world. Can the cry of a newborn save humanity? Perhaps. But perhaps it's just the last gasp of a doomed species.