As children, Ruth, Kathy and Tommy spend their childhood at a seemingly idyllic English boarding school. As they grow into young adults, they find that they have to come to terms with the strength of the love they feel for each other, while preparing themselves for the haunting reality that awaits them. Written by
Fox Searchlight Pictures
As a fan of the book I had a mixed reaction to this adequate yet overall uninspiring adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's brilliant novel.
Looking back at my viewing experience I was reminded of the early adaptation of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' from the earliest era of films, in which the filmmakers expected you to have read the book and simply showed you interpretations of various scenes.
Alex Garland's screenplay boasted the ambition of including a little bit of everything from Ishiguro's 300 page book in his slightly under two hour movie. The result is a simple abridgment, we have time to realize the love brewing between the characters, the strained friendship between Mulligan's Kathy and Knightley's Ruth, and the dilemma of their caregivers at Hailsham. But the film lacks much the catharsis and the commentary that made the book so great.
Romanek has proved himself to be a capable director, but here he made some negative decisions which really removed much of the impact of the plot. Adam Kimmel's cinematography is a stand out here, and given the competition so far I wouldn't be surprised if he receives an Oscar nomination for his work.
The calm collection and stoic nature of much of the acting can be seen as insipid or uninteresting to some. But I found the acting to be quite appropriate, the tight lipped, proper British style of this movie provided an nice contrast and balance to a story which could have turned into a mindless melodramatic tear jerker if not handled correctly.
In the end, I think active viewer-ship is of paramount importance to this movie. The film is never interested in simply handing the audience its ideas. Rather it called upon us to dig for meaning. I would say the plot itself served as a bit of a metaphor, and that intrigued me. And, despite some of the negative artistic liberties which were taken in this adaptation, I feel that it did well enough to create an involving, though provoking, and sometimes heartbreaking experience.
Despite its flaws, 'Never Let Me Go' has been one of the few strong film that we've had this year. And, if your one of those people who goes to the movies once or twice a month, I'd say 'Never Let Me Go' is one of your better bets for an agreeable experience at the movies right now.
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