Review: Never Let Me Go – if it walks like a science fiction movie and talks like a science fiction movie…..it is a science fiction movie?..
The annual BFI London film festival 2010 showcased the best in international cinema as usual. With the state of British film funding all eyes were on this countries talent, new and established as it’s feared both will soon struggle to gain future creative momentum. If it walks like a science fiction movie and talks like a science fiction movie…..it is a science fiction movie?. Perhaps not, as ‘Never Let Me Go’ pays more attention to the ethical situations and problems the lead characters face brought about by supposed modern significant scientific change during the 1950s rather than the large physical impact on society. Based on a novel by Japanese-born British author Kazuo Ishiguro of the same name, Mark Romanek’s Film adaptation sees Kiera Knightley, Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield take the leads.
The early part of the film follows Kathy (Izzy Meikle-Small), Ruth (Ella Purnell) and Tommy (Charlie Rowe) as young children and attending students at Hailsham, a seemingly normal rural English boarding school. The stage is set for the painful, intense and inevitably doomed love triangle between the central characters. Hailsham is awkward, but initially no more than expected form an English boarding school. As the emotional triangle lheightens on screen, so does our understanding of their purpose and the boarding schools place within that. What Director Mark Romanek and Screenplay writer Alex Garland try to do is let the story play out subtly without obvious ‘a-ha’ moments, which means when the truth finally creeps to the surface it’s more dark and twisted, especially with the opening moments.
Carey Mulligan took on the heavy task of playing Kathy, arguably the most central emotional centre point of the story and the relationship between all three characters. She shines in a demanding and extremely mature role. Kiera Knightley is lends support as Ruth cruel, witty and stubborn, shes hard to like but she’s also hard to hate given the situation. Andrew Garfield is heartbreaking as the awkward, angry young man unsure of his place in and outside hailsham and between Ruth and Kathy.
The colour palette of the film is elegant, romantic and also just as disturbing, highlighting the presence of a secret. The camera seems removed and distant, similar to Romanek’s work in ‘One Hour Photo’. What came to screen from a brilliantly distressing dystopian novel is a rather bleak but beautiful interpretation.
Von Von Lamunu