Director Alfonso Cuaron’s post-Apocalyptic masterpiece Children of Men is set in a nightmarish future United Kingdom about eighteen years after the human fertility rate dropped to zero. As war and existential despair claim most parts of the world, the UK “soldiers on” via a near-totalitarian regime that offers its citizens the option of suicide via taking a lethal sedative called Quietus.
In this essay, Christopher Noessel takes a close look at Quietus from a conceptual design and storytelling perspective:
(…) Quietus is a narrative, worldbuilding prop that helps us understand the world of the story. It helps us to understand that people are so desperate and depressed they are willing, at mass scale, to consider suicide. It helps us to understand that the government is facing such a terrible lack of resources that it has to incentivize this suicide to keep its population to some manageable level, to those who can still press on.