In the scene, our group of subversives is attacked while in a car. Owen, Julianne Moore, and their fellow travelers are ambushed on an idyllic Canterbury road, that establishes the frantic, anxiety-producing potential of the form. The tricky part for the director was that it’s all done in a single take and a single shot. That heightens the tension for the viewer because there are no cuts — you can tell that the whole thing was filmed in one, long sequence. But this is a nightmare for the director because there are so many elements — the burning car, the shooting, the breakneck escape — and they only had a few chances to get it right. The take you see in the movie was their last chance, their last take.

Children of Men, released in 2006, set a new high bar for science-fiction filmmaking, which is saying something for a genre that, thanks to the likes of Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, and George Lucas, Stanley Kubrick, is constantly breaking the mold of blockbuster filmmaking.

The film was directed and co-written by Alfonso Cuarón. The screenplay, based on P. D. James’ 1992 novel The Children of Men, was credited to five writers, with Clive Owen making uncredited contributions. The film takes place in 2027 when two decades of human infertility have left society on the brink of collapse. Illegal immigrants seek sanctuary in the United Kingdom, where the last functioning government imposes oppressive immigration laws on refugees. Owen plays civil servant Theo Faron, who must help a refugee (Clare-Hope Ashitey) escape the chaos. Children of Men also stars Julianne Moore, Michael Caine, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Pam Ferris, and Charlie Hunnam.