NEVER LET ME GO Review


I have neither read the novel this film is based on or seen any of Director Mark Romanek's previous work. But from the first glimpses of "Never Let Me Go" and its mysterious yet hugely intriguing plot I was interested. Though I wasn't exactly sure why I was getting myself into here, I thought it would be something along the lines of a British "The Island" with less sleekness and more natural beauty. And while the concepts are eerily similar, (but Michael Bay's film and the book did come out the same year, although that film had a lawsuit against it for copyright infringement by the director of a 1979 film that also had a similar story) "Never Let Me Go" is a more subtle and natural look at a world where these copies of people aren't used for such selfish reasons. They are purely created to keep the world clean of disease. It is a slow process through which we learn the true identity and purpose of our three main characters, and in the end we get a story that is depressing if not heartbreaking. 

Kathy, Tommy and Ruth all attended a private school that molded them to become what they were always meant to be. In the early scenes when we see our characters as young children is where we find the most interesting and mysterious aspects of the story. I would have greatly appreciated spending more time at Hailshom because once we enter the first act where our three leads are played by more recognizable faces the movie begins to drag a bit. Though Carey Mulligan is always a joy to watch and Andrew Garfield continues to prove why he will be a huge name someday, it is the oldest pro of the group, Kiera Knightley that turns in a more mature and torn performance than she has in years. It hearkens to her role in films like "Atonement" where she plays cold and detached for reasons only she can truly justify. The dynamics between the three are interesting and when they do come together for a final time in the last act of the film we do have a moment of chilling realization. It is what the film does best, it builds around you, making you yearn for it to answer your questions, but once you receive those answers, you are wishing they would have been something different. Something not as negative, something with a little more hope. These characters know nothing of that word though, they were never even taught to feel that emotion.

As I write this, I am beginning to feel this movie affected me more than I though it did. "Never Let Me Go" is a poignant movie, it is moving to the point that I will most likely still be thinking about it in a few days. Wondering how people could allow these human beings to grow up living real lives, only to cut them short. Always knowing they would be cut short. Why even let them live as if they were real people? Why even let them begin to fall in love or have dreams and aspirations? It only seems cruel. And though it is a depressing movie, I can not say I didn't like it. I enjoyed the contrast of such an old school world with the futuristic storyline and the tiny hints of technology. It was regal in the most creepy of ways. Those little details hinting at the real world that surrounded these unknowing beings. I didn't get exactly what I bargained for here, but it was much more. And I'm glad the story here did as its title promised.