When it opened on 12.25.06, Alfonso Cuaron‘s Children of Men (’06) was a dystopian foretelling of social breakdown and urban degeneration 21 years hence. The opening scene is captioned “16th November, 2027,” and the general London atmosphere (are we looking at Regent Street?) instantly tells us that this once-great city — once a nourishing spiritual watering hole for Charles Dickens, Benjamin Disraeli, Lytton Strachey, Virginia Woolf, Winston Churchill, Alfred Hitchcock, Tony Richardson and The Beatles — has become a bit bedraggled and third-worldish, air-polluted and populated with riff-raff…over-crowded, cacophonous and generally down-at-the-heels.

Not all of it (there are still pockets of order and tranquility with green-lawned parks and red-coated king’s guards marching along) but London is clearly edging toward some kind of ruffian, seen-better-days anarchy.

As we speak 11.16.27 is only four years hence or just around the corner, and I have to say that as I was walking east on 42nd Street last week in the mid-evening (following the AMC Empire all-media screening of Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning Part One) I was glancing at the overweight, sandal-wearing, presumably under-educated animals and feeling the general decay and lack of couth and even fraying civility and saying to myself “Jesus, this is almost like Children of Mennot classically dystopian in a Cormac McCarthy or Mad Max sense but drifting in that direction…even when 42nd Street was a grindhouse rathole in the ’60s it had a certain regimented order and aspirational vibe….no longer.”