Never Let Me Go * * * *


Director: Mark Romanek.
Screenplay: Alex Garland.
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, Keira Knightley, Sally Hawkins, Charlotte Rampling, Izzy Meikle-Small, Charlie Rowe, Ella Purnell,

Novelist Alex Garland (The Beach) seems to have become something of a science-fiction screenwriter these days, with “28 Days Later” and “Sunshine” already done and the forthcoming “Dredd” and “Halo” in the making. However, this adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s book is his most subtle sci-fi yet, and his most effective.

Kathy H. (Carey Mulligan) is a woman looking back on her life, from her childhood days at Hailsham boarding school with best friends Ruth (Keira Knightley) and Tommy (Andrew Garfield). Like all the other Hailsham pupils, the three have a very particular destiny – one which, together, they slowly grow to understand, and struggle to accept.

Science-fiction doesn’t come much bleaker when it addresses the nature of existence or the purpose in our lives. Especially when that purpose is to serve another, wholeheartedly, and to ones detriment. This excellently crafted drama brings reminders of George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “A Brave New World” in it’s depressingly bleak and hopeless, alternate time in history. It has an interesting and thought provoking premise and what makes good science fiction tick is it’s believability. This is a very plausible story in our modern age of genetic modification and it’s under-played to perfection. Director Mark Romanek focuses on the human/inhumane element of the story and any indication of an alternate time is subtly done. Helped no end with some gorgeous cinematography by Adam Kimmel and excellent performances from the three leads and their younger counterparts – who bear and uncanny resemblance to the older actors.

A cerebral and melancholy film that’s beautifully executed in the struggle of it’s characters’ misfortunes and inevitable fate. Touching and heartbreakingly bleak.

Mark Walker


10 Responses to “Never Let Me Go * * * *”

  1. ray brayne Says:

    Just linked over here. I saw this one awhile ago but it was such a downer despite being well made. Through the whole movie I kept asking why they didn’t make a run for it. I know they thought that would kill them but why not risk it. That could be a central question though. In “Remains of the Day” Tony Hopkins never risks a love affair with Emma Thompson. Not taking risks is a big issue with Ishiguro. Thanks for recommending “Dan the man” but teenage bloggers don’t do it for me. Life experience really does count.


    • It’s been a while since I seen the film but it’s due a rewatch. I always thought there was a valid reason for their not running like fuck but I’ll have to view it again. I was originally taken by it’s bleak style and great performances (even by Knightley who I tend to despise).
      As for teenage bloggers, I wasn’t aware that Dan was one. Either way, it’s the writing I admire but have to agree that some opinions of film’s are not quite what they would be had life been lived a little. As we’re on the subject, how do you know I’m not a teenager myself? 😉


      • ray brayne Says:

        You had your daughters when you were what? Six? LOL. I’m sorry but I recently commented on a movie blog mentioning two famous names outside the movie realm and he had no idea who I was talking about. Turns out he’s still in high school. Maturity shows through. If you’re blogging about Loves’ Labors’ Lost and you’re worried about a date for the prom don’t lecture me son! LOL. Like yesterday when you mentioned how Flynn reminded you of your deceased dad. That meant more to me than a mere movie opinion. After all every asshole has two things; an asshole and an opinion!


      • Lol. Some people are “Ass-halves” – it takes two if them to make an “Ass-Hole”.
        I hear what your saying though, I’ve read some well written reviews buy some folk that can dissect the film as an art form but not the subject matter at hand. Their failure to identify with the material is simply a lack of life experience. Like you say, it does matter.

        For the record… I’m 34 but still wish I was a teenager. 😉


  2. Excellent review, it’s such a poignant and moving examination of mortality.


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