Never Let Me Go
- Director:Mark Romanek
- Cast:Andrew Garfield, Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan
- Release Date:March 31, 2011
- Distributor:20th Century Fox
- Running time:103 minutes
- Film Worth:$18.00
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
Driven by terrific lead performances, this achingly beautiful work challenges audiences emotionally and intellectually.
It's 1978. England. But something's out of kilter at Hailsham, the mysterious boarding school where the first part of this film takes place. From this cryptic outset, the achingly beautiful Never Let Me Go gives the audience much to puzzle over, and it delivers its answers in a way that the average movie doesn't - slowly, carefully and with great intelligence.
This is one of those films that it's best to walk into knowing little about. It's a tale of morality and mortality that centres on a love triangle. To say anything more about its storyline would ruin its greatest attraction - working out what the hell is going on. It doesn't take too long, however, to figure out that Hailsham is a weird place. There's something sinister here, with the children seemingly divorced from the outside world. In the middle of the strangeness are three kids - Tommy, Ruth and Kathy - whose stories will go beyond 1978 and into a difficult young adulthood.
Child actors soon give way to the rising star adult cast, and the transitions are seamless, with the artistic and sensitive Tommy later portrayed by Andrew Garfield (The Social Network's Eduardo Saverin, and future Spider-Man), while Keira Knightly becomes the adult version of the troubled and complicated Ruth, and a peerless Carey Mulligan (An Education) gets into your heart as Kathy, the story's narrator. While Knightley is used to taking the lead, this is Mulligan's film. It's through Mulligan's Kathy that we view this story. It's Kathy's head that we get inside, and it's Kathy that ultimately moves us to tears. Yet Knightley and Garfield - whose Tommy is caught in the middle of this decidedly bizarre love triangle - are nothing less than superb.
Director Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo) makes no wrong moves with this superb film. Most impressive is Romanek's balancing act. Never Let Me Go is a story about serious ideas, and the filmmaker weighs and equalises the emotive human drama side - the love story - with the film's more thought-provoking concerns.
With a fine screenplay by Alex Garland (28 Days Later, Sunshine), Never Let Me Go is based on the bestseller by The Remains Of The Day author Kazuo Ishiguro. The film contains a fascinating central premise that challenges the audience emotionally and intellectually, and many - at least those who are unfamiliar with the novel - will find it outstanding. There's a longing at the core of this film that expresses the sadder side of romantic love and succinctly captures the yearning that is unrequited love.
Sure, it's no popcorn movie, but it would be inaccurate - and unfair - to call it depressing. Instead, Never Let Me Go has the rare ability to leave you in a state of exquisite pain.