Reviews

Never Let Me Go

2

Blade Runner goes to boarding school…

Never Let Me Go

It’s an adap of a novel by one of Britain’s best authors (Kazuo Ishiguro), stars some of our hottest young talent and deals with themes of no less importance than the human soul.

In other words, Never Let Me Go is a present laid expectantly on Bafta’s doorstep. Let’s hope they kept the receipt.

You might expect a sci-fi centred on medical ethics to take place in some future dystopia. But Mark Romanek’s (One Hour Photo) film is set in the drizzle of mid-’90s England, dividing its time between overcast seaside, muddy countryside and a peculiar boarding school called Hailsham.

There, pupils Kathy (Carey Mulligan) and Ruth (Keira Knightley) become rivals when Ruth poaches the affections of Tommy (Andrew Garfield). As the three grow into adulthood, they learn that a truly in-love couple might defer the grim fate of Hailsham pupils, and competition for Tommy’s heart intensifies.

In another Ishiguro adaptation, The Remains Of The Day, Anthony Hopkins revealed the pathos of a man unable to take action to find happiness in his life. Despite boasting three times the inert characters of that film, Never Let Me Go never achieves equivalent impact. The pupils’ failure to question their fate plays more like lethargy than tragically repressed emotion.

Scripter Alex Garland does deserve credit for his restraint; a lesser adap would have ignored the novel’s nuance and put Knightley and Mulligan in silver Lycra. Then again, a better one would’ve found a way to transfer the book’s intense feeling to the screen.

Instead, Never Let Me Go is moving only in the sense that it’s depressing and, y’know, so are motorway service stations.
 

Verdict:

As beige as the cardies Carey Mulligan wears throughout, this has several quality elements, but there’s something vital missing.

Film Details

User Reviews

    • aliceISalive

      Feb 6th 2011, 17:25

      4

      2 stars?? wtf?

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    • cdm22

      Feb 11th 2011, 17:08

      4

      Are you lot mad? Its a fantastic film!

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    • ChrisWootton

      Feb 14th 2011, 13:06

      2

      Actually, I think the review (although a bit light) is quite fair. It was so cold and detached that you weren't actually affected by the film at all. Shame, as the story is quite disturbing and barring a couple of scenes could've been very moving. It's a weird one to rate because it should really get a three star review, but the fact that it fails to deliver the emotional hit (and trys so hard to do so) means that ultimately it has to be given 2. Definitely makes me want to read the book though which i imagine is infinitely better

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    • LiliElza26

      Feb 16th 2011, 18:26

      3

      Actually now that I saw it I have to agree with you. There's something missing from this film, something vital. Personally I'd give it another star because of Andrew Garfield's performance-it blew me away! He's really amazing. I thought at first that it's just another romance story about jealousy and time passing by, but it was a nice surprise that actually it was more than that.

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    • u01apt4

      Feb 25th 2011, 2:11

      3

      This review misses the point of the film. Its about a failure to deal with the question of mortality, thats why the characters never question their fates - it mirrors the human condition. It also raises some poignant questions about how we care for the elderly in this country by situating the young characters in their place. Beige? And death is sunny and colourful? This film is not as depressing as many, in fairness feel, its poetically tragic. It stirs an existential feeling from within to powerful effect, thanks to all the 'service station' moments that allow us to THINK. Loved it.

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