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  Never Let Me Go Do You Realise?
Year: 2010
Director: Mark Romanek
Stars: Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, Keira Knightley, Izzy Meikle-Small, Charlie Rowe, Ella Purnell, Charlotte Rampling, Sally Hawkins, Nathalie Richard, Andrea Riseborough, Domhnall Gleeson, Kate Bowes Renna, Hannah Sharp, Christina Carrafiell, Monica Dolan
Genre: Science Fiction, RomanceBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Kathy (Carey Mulligan) is now a carer for the donors, waiting her turn, but seeing Tommy (Andrew Garfield) again had made her contemplate her life so far, and the path she had taken to get to this stage. Not that she had much choice in the matter, for as far back as she could remember she had been practically institutionalised, starting with school at Hailsham. It was there she had grown up with Tommy, but also Ruth (Keira Knightley), who had been both her friend and her rival for his affections...

Of all the movie downers, Never Let Me Go had the oddest roots as while it was not advertised as such, indeed the finer points of the plot and what was really going on was kept a secret even though it is revealed about twenty minutes into the story, it was actually a remake of Parts: The Clonus Horror redone as a tasteful but tearstained tragedy. Not that its central concept was an original one even to that half-forgotten B-movie, but the details were about the same, except this went one further in depicting the premise not as a scandal in his parallel world, but the consensus of the majority who see no other way of doing things.

And while Kathy, Tommy and Ruth try to escape, however briefly, from their destiny, the end result was all-too predictable, making rather too blatant the narrative's allegory for this big old mystery called life, its finality being part of that. This meant the three characters lived and loved within some kind of restriction that society had placed upon them, and had their own belief system of what was happening that may or may not be true, but kept them going through each day as their fate drew ever closer, picking up on aspects that would bolster their hopes that things would inevitably get better as the alternative was too much to bear.

Kathy was the wisest of the three, but in her way she has her naive characteristics as well, except you can tell deep down she is all too aware of what is expected of her and her friends. Underlining the entirety of life under the microscope and found wanting was the way that we see them from children to teenagers to adults, and the unease that something bad was awaiting them was hard to shake thanks to what a compassionate teacher at Hailsham (Sally Hawkins) informs her pupils of, much against the rules. It might have been better if you knew from the start what that secret was, as it gets the feeling that there's a major revelation out of the way.

But there were problems even with a film that felt such compassion for its principals as Never Let Me go did, and that was in the credibility of the story. Yes, that teacher has her reservations, but you cannot believe that she and a handful of others in some pressure group would be the sole dissenting voices, no matter how headmistress Charlotte Rampling explains herself at the end. The ethics of the operation would have given most societies sleepless nights, although they do say if you enjoy sausages don't whatever you do watch them being made, yet these were more than animals we were dealing with. The connections drawn by the script, written by Alex Garland from Kazuo Ishugiro's popular novel, are too obvious and while the performances, especially Mulligan's, were enough to tug the heartstrings, there was a naked amibition to have the audience confront their own mortality that was less moving and more like cruelly rubbing your nose in the fact nobody gets out of here alive. Music by Rachel Portman.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Mark Romanek  (1959 - )

American director who has worked predominantly in music videos, turning in distinctive promos for Madonna, Nine Inch Nails, David Bowie and, most recently, Johnny Cash's haunting "Hurt". On the big screen he has made three films, 1985's quirky Static and 2002's Robin Williams-starrer One Hour Photo. Icy and tragic sci-fi Never Let Me Go followed in 2010 to some acclaim.

 
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