After a successful opening at the London Film Festival, Never Let Me Go based on the internationally acclaimed novel by Kazuo Ishiguro is poised for a limited nationwide release. Directed by Mark Romanek and adapted by Alex Garland, the film highlights the complexities of the human condition and features three of Britain’s most sought after actors Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, and Andrew Garfield.
Check out the review below..
- Director: Mark Romanek
- Writers: Kazuo Ishiguro (novel) Alex Garland (screenplay)
- Cast: Carey Mulligan, Keir Knightley, Andrew Garfield
Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy are students at a seemingly idyllic English boarding school in a remote countryside. At first glance their world appears familiar to ours, though through a series of slightly peculiar events we discover the alternate society they’re a part of, and the contrived purpose of their existence: these students have been cloned and bred specifically to be organ donors.
- Not Your Typical Sci-Fi Flick: Though the story is supported by “sci-fi” framework it ultimately defies the usual tendencies of the genre. The “sci-fi” factor is discreet, and doesn’t impact the films deeply profound and well-executed theme of human fragility. The film sheds light on topics like love, loss, duty, and betrayal – all common in ordinary life and prevalent within most films. But the lives of Ishiguro’s characters have been compressed into a devastatingly brief stretch of time. These circumstances not only redefine the ideas of love, loss, etc, for these characters – they amplify the sentiments behind them.
- Themes: Philosophers often highlight this idea of “purpose” in regards to human life – maybe we’ll never accept death if we don’t understand why we live. These characters are painfully aware of their purpose and don’t experience any form of existential questioning. They’re cloned, raised healthily, donate their organs, and “complete.” This awareness not only gives them a sense of duty, pride, and identity – but allows them to embrace life in an immediate, moment to moment way. This idea, in turn, encourages the audience to reflect on fundamental questions regarding our own mortality. This film requires the audience to think. To question. To feel.
- Pacing: What’s particularly excellent about the film is that it’s both powerful and inspiring without being outward or preachy. Romanek isn’t jamming these ideas down your throat – they’re beautifully and quietly woven into Ishiguro’s material. He’s both subtle and deft in his placement of “critical moments.”
- Carey Mulligan: Every performance was noteworthy, but Ms. Carey Mulligan has a profound ability to communicate a great deal by doing very little. Her performance was unbelievably sharp because her “acting” seemed effortless.
- The Darkness: The tone of the film is a melancholy one. The color palettes are dark, the locations appear relatively dismal and gray, and the story itself is a heartbreaking one. I’m not sure it’s fair to constitute the aforementioned factors as “bad” – but if you aren’t in the mood for this type of movie, you probably won’t enjoy it.
See “The Bad.” But as a whole – one of the most moving films I’ve seen this year.
Never Let Me Go is playing in limited theaters right now.
Will you be seeing Never Let Me Go this weekend?