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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.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I seriously feel as if a chunk of my brain fell off after watching this
movie. I believe it is due to how stupid the screenplay writer and
director think the viewers are (or they themselves might not be that
What's worse is to open IMDb and see some people raving about how great this movie is and how this makes you think the whole time. Yeah I think how long will this crap go on. And how stupid can these characters be.
We are to believe that after they learn their fate, their attempt to avoid it is just by asking for deferral?? And that when told there is no such thing they just scream in the middle of a street? A little study of Biology (I believe during my Junior High) mentioned that our survival instinct part of brain is the first to develop and the one that kicks in whenever we face problems. It's a field of study that I will suggest for the writers and director of this movie.
There is one scene so memorable in the movie (which is probably when the screenwriter wrote right after he got his lobotomy done). It's when they finished the 3rd organ harvesting of Ruth and she died. The doctors just pack up and left the room (instead of trying to revive her as what would happen in normal world) they tried to portray a message that these people are just like cattle and their life is just for the organs, but if that's true, won't they straight away try to harvest all other organs that can't be harvested without the person dying? (heart, lungs, corneas) we all, at least those with brain still know that those organs need to be harvested as fast as possible.
Sure the scenery is beautiful and the acting is pretty good and there is the yada and the blah blah like other reviewers said. But if you're looking for a movie that your brain can remotely comprehend (I'm talking to those that have basic education) then Never Pick This piece of steaming horse crap up.
I was in awe of the visual overtones in this gorgeously made film.
Deep, subtle, beautiful and cryptic--"Never Let Me Go" is sure to
instigate profound conversations after the screening. Like "Dead Man
Walking" (1995) and "Million Dollar Baby" (2004) there's a social
morale buried under this sumptuous love story.
The film follows the friendship of three children growing up in a tightly-secured boarding school in Britain, beginning in 1978. They are cutoff from the outside world; a life without a choice, but a life with a designated focus. The story spans almost three decades, following them from childhood to adulthood. The surroundings are ever constant, even though the film follows them for three decades.
I would love to reveal what these special individuals are modeled and raised for, but giving away that revelation wouldn't be fair to the viewers. I must say, it's a very unique premise; one that gives the audience a very improbable connection between images and content. "Never Let Me Go" struck a nerve. I felt for these characters, very deeply. I wanted them to realize what these young and loving individuals could've achieved in the world they grew up in. They were brainwashed into thinking they were isolated from everyone else, but in reality, there were no boundaries. They could've escaped from the life they were brought-up in and should've rebelled from the establishment. Angry, sad, sweet, longing, optimisticI love it when a film channels these ambivalent emotions and allows me to ponder about an alternate direction for the characters to venture into. If a film does that, then it must work.
After viewing this movie, I'm very curious about picking up the novel to see how the filmmakers translated the descriptions into these picturesque images. My guess is that the book is written on the same lines as "The Horse Whisperer"with deft metaphors and rich characterizations.
As much as I wanted closure to the narrative, I think the film does a great justice by leaving the audience in the dark. It gives the viewer more room to think, and it stimulates an array of intelligent inquiries. "Never Let Me Go" dares the viewer to look beyond the beautiful imagery and delicate character interrelationships, and discover a multitude of hidden meanings and themes. Above all, this is an exquisitely crafted tale about love, loss, individuality, and the boundaries of life.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Despite some good acting, good film making and good direction the plot
of this depressing film is so confusing and silly it's really hard to
get into it. The confusion starts with the date of the movie,1978. I
guess we are supposed to believe that for years there have been
boarding schools where children are raised for one purpose, to donate
organs to some other people we never learn about in order to keep those
people alive instead of these people. More confusion starts when we
realize the kids are being lied to about their real destiny then a new
teacher is hired who tells them the truth one day and is summarily
fired the next for outing the school, but the kids don't cry or
complain at all. I don't know about you but if I were told at age ten
that I wasn't going to have no future and was just an organ donor who
was destined to die young I think I might be a bit upset. Why this
teacher from the outside was hired to begin with is also beyond me. And
it seems easy enough for the kids to run away but no one even tries.
It gets even sillier as they grow, a whole 3 way romance thing is going on which isn't very interesting and then we discover they can come and go as they please, they even have cars to use. There is this whole mentality presented that the kids, now 20 somethings all really want to die as donors, but then all they do is talk about not wanting to die or something. At any point any of them could have taken off and disappeared. Is there anyone to stop them? Who knows, all we see is that they have wrist bands and have to beep in to a monitor when coming home. You would think someone would at least try to escape, what's the worst that can happen? And the fact that they raise, train and teach these people for 20 years just to have them die is not very cost efficient.
Don't waste your time with this one unless you want to be depressed and bored to death like the characters themselves.
Recently I got a chance to see Never Let Me Go, a film based on the
acclaimed novel by Kazuo Ishiguro.
I ask those who read my review to take it with a grain of salt, as the film is sharply divisive between love and hate. Those who love it say it's emotionally devastating, those who don't find emotion to be lacked. But from my point of view, I find it to be an elegant feature.
Carey Mulligan stars as Kathy, a passionate young girl who is in a complicated love triangle that also includes Tommy (Played by Andrew Garfield), the not so secret love of Kathy's life, and Ruth (Played by Keira Knightley), a jealous woman who stole Tommy while the three of them were attending a mysterious boarding school known as Hailsham, where all students are bred for a specific purpose explained to us at the end of the first act.
Alex Garland, the writer of films such as 28 Days Later, may not have been the most obvious choice to pen the script, but since seeing the film, I understand why. It may come across as a melodramatic romance, but at Never Let Me Go's core is an enigmatic Science-Fiction, make no mistake about that. Even if you don't find the passion to be translated effectively on screen, you can tell it was there on paper. The result is a captivating feature leading to a finale that, as far as emotions go, is heartbreaking to behold, but it wasn't overwhelmingly tragic.
I also admired the performances. Not just from Andrew Garfield's fine performance as Tommy, not just for Charlotte Rampling, Sally Hawkins and Nathalie Richard making great use of their small roles, or even Keira Knightley's exceptional, and gripping performance as Ruth, the true driving force is Carey Mulligan. The Handling of her character is perfect, made even more so by her gentle performance of quiet passion.
It's also a beautifully shot feature, sporting lovely cinematography by Adam Kimmel, as well as a lovely score by Rachel Portman. Although at times her score feels a little intrusive to the more quiet nature of the visuals, her strings score captures a strong essence of each character's emotional state.
Like I said, take a huge grain of salt in regard to Never let Me Go, which I give ***1/2 out of ****
I never read the book. I never HEARD of the book. I never heard of the author. I'd never heard about this movie. Now that I've seen it, I'm wondering just how good this wonderful little Mulligan kid can become. The purpose of the kids' existence is as appalling as the revelations of Nazi atrocities. But, we are sucked in to caring about Kathy, Ruth and Tommy. This is the mark of the truly great movie. Carey again proves that she is the real thing, one of the finest actors of our age. She's too young to be this good. She acts with her face, her words, but mostly through her eyes, which look like they have the wisdom of the ages behind them. Of course, this cannot be, because she's only in her 20's. Add up her entire book of work, and she becomes one of the most bankable stars around.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It is not often that you come home from a film feeling both defeated and genuinely happy. While these would appear to be contradicting emotions, that is exactly how I felt coming from Mark Romanek's Never Let Me Go. The film, written by Alex Garland and based on the novel of the same name by Kazuo Ishiguro, is beautiful and emotionally devastating at the same time. The film opens in the 1970's, focusing on the lives of three school children in an English private school. Although at first sight the setting appears normal enough, we quickly discover these are not normal children, as they exist solely to have their organs harvested once they become adults. Never Let Me Go seamlessly combines period drama and science fiction. The alternative reality we are shown is never fully explained nor needs to be. The film is purely about the three main characters: Kathy, Tommy and Ruth. It is the film's deep focus on the emotions and personalities of the characters that makes it fascinating. The world they live in is simply there--reality for them--no explanations needed. A film as personal as this relies heavily on the actors; and without their strong performances the film would have fallen flat. An Education's Carrie Mulligan stars as Abbie, a girl who does not act but rather observes. Andrew Garfrield plays Tommy, who Kathy has been in love with since they were children. Keira Knightley is provides the most surprising performance as Ruth, who jealously falls for Tommy. Fortunately, no one disappoints, in fact, they all exceed expectations. As these characters are shielded from normalcy, the performances we get portray them as innocents. This is especially true of Andrew Garfield, who plays Tommy as a naive, innocent teenager who wants nothing more than to live longer than he is programmed to. It is his performance that stands out, it is understated, but still emotionally heart wrenching. The difficulty in reviewing this film for me comes from the emotional impact it had. Many films will tug at the heart strings, manipulating the audience into feeling a sadness that is not real. This film does not manipulate, it has a genuine sadness at its core that leaves you devastated. No film has left me on the verge of tears as much as this one has. In an age of formulaic films, it is utterly refreshing to see something so genuine on screen, even though the characters' situations are foreign to the audience. Alex Garland has often been criticized for his inability to write logical conclusions to his films. While I personally don't agree with that, Never Let Me Go proves that wrong. The final act of the film doesn't try to trick us into feeling for the characters as we already do. The characters reunite after years apart from each other; now, closer to the end, they spend what could be their last days together. There is no twist to the film, it ends exactly how we know it will, and that is where the sadness comes from. We know the fates of these characters, and the films' focus is on their struggle to accept their fate just as we have had to. Mark Romanek is a veteran music video director, and Never Let Me Go is only his second feature film, although you wouldn't know it. Romanek shows a maturity and patience behind the camera that is not only rare for young filmmakers but for veteran ones as well. His use of focus leads to one of the most beautifully shot films of the year, if not the most. Never Let Me Go is without a doubt my favourite film of the year, so far. It had the emotional impact that I usually judge a film's quality on. The fact it is not being talked about more is truly a bewildering shame. I fear it will be forgotten, as dramas that do not garner Oscar attention usually do.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Never Let Me Go," is an almost perfect adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's
novel but it is going to have a hard time finding an audience because
it is slow, sad, and depressing.
I had finished the book 2 weeks before I saw the movie, so the story was fresh in my mind. I think that it really helps to read the book first because it fills in a lot of the gaps that are missing in the movie.
Even if you haven't read the book, the film is still worth seeing for the performances of Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, and Keira Knightly.
The only reason the film does not rate a perfect 10 is that in the scene where they are trying to get a "deferral" from Madame, they left out what is probably the most important part of the story.
In that scene in the book, Madame explains to them that the boarding school they went to was paid for by donations and fund raising so that they could be brought up like normal people. Before that, the clones were brought up in concentration camps and treated inhumanly. The whole point of that scene was that Madame and a few others were willing to make great sacrifices because they believed the clones had all the same rights and sentience as all other humans, while the rest of the world thought of them as livestock that were being bred for consumption.
Even though that scene was left out of the film, the final line in the film alludes to the same message and it is a real tearjerker.
Don't be fooled into thinking "Never Let Me Go" is a science fiction movie. It is not. It is a human drama with a science fiction premise. This is not like "Logan's Run" and it really does not go into the details of the science behind the premise. It is a sad and melancholy story about the human condition. If you go into it knowing what to expect, it is highly recommended.
Though inspired from a highly acclaimed novel, this movie is relatively
less publicized and that might be one reason for not being known to
Two deepest of human emotions, love and betrayal are depicted in a subtle fashion in this movie. Cinematography and direction are good. Screenplay is slow in later half, yet gripping over all. Certain scenes sure will have a haunting affect on you.
Mulligan's acting is solid. Knighley's emotional performance is intense. But above all, I believe it's Garfield who stole the show, in the role of an isolated, confused and struggling boy.
I would say...Watch this movie with little expectations, you won't be disappointed.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I was really looking forward to this film. I like all the actors and
the technical credits looked promising. I felt this film might live or
die by its script but seeing Alex Garland's name attached was a bonus.
I liked his previous work; The Beach, most of Sunshine and I especially
loved 28 Days Later.
That Kazuo Ishiguro wrote the novel this film is based on was less impressive for me. I do not know the mans literary work and regarding film work, one of the better Merchant/Ivory films, The Remains Of The Day was based on an Ishiguro novel, so I was not unduly alarmed when I sat down.
I also have, make that HAD, no strong opinion about the competence of director Mark Romanek and some films, despite the "auteur theory" are not director made.
Never Let Me Go looked like one of those. What I neglected to consider was that a director could completely unmake a reasonably good story.
This film is a torturous mess. It is dull looking, leaden paced and they really should have had one or two more story conferences to work out the stupendous improbabilities in the plot. Now, I understand that the film takes place neither in the future, nor in the past and that it is presenting a world developmentally different than our own, but please, this film makes no sense, even if you apply the generally absurd level of sense that is standard for the sci-fi genre.
First, the "surprise" that these kids are being raised for the sole purpose of organ donation is stated verbally quite early in the film. But that's just for the slow members of the audience. In fact, the films ending, thematic point and character denouement are visually shown to us in the very first scene as a skinny, scarred Andrew Garfield is wheeled into an operating room to have his last useful organs removed under the watchful eye of Carrey Mulligan, the woman who truly loves him.
Gee, thanks Carrey, I'm glad you love him. Imagine what might have happened if you hated him!
But this whole organ transplant idea is just a clumsy allegory for something else because it makes no medical sense what so ever. The film makes some attempt at explanation for why this society needs so many organ donors, but it is a ludicrous premise.
If these kids are being used for say, kidney transplants, and human kidneys still work the same way and for the same reasons in their world, than I can at least conclude some nominal comparability to our own world. And here the films central plot point crashes on the rocks of reality.
For example, in the USA last year, 28,000 people were saved by organ transplants, out of a roughly 305,000,000 population. That's a very small percentage. Most of the diseases and accidents that can kill you are not fixable by simply getting a new kidney.
Then there is the utter passivity of kids. I mean, they adamantly don't want to die, but when they are let out of their holding pens to go for a drive far into the countryside, they return on time and on schedule. It almost seems like they WANT to be carved up into all their little pieces parts.
I don't even want to get into the utter stupidity of the film postulating that the third grade drawings of houses and cows somehow indicates that that person has a "soul".
Trust me, there are better ways to prove your humanity than by the creation of lousy amateur art. It's a ludicrous conceit and whoever came up with it should be ashamed of themselves.
So if you want to see a film with an improbable story by Kazuo Ishiguro, check out The Saddest Music In The World. But since that film was directed by the Canadian genius Guy Maddin, the film has wit, excessive eccentricities in filmic style and a huge number of belly laughs.
Avoid Never Let Me Go unless you consider getting bored into a coma a fun way to spend an evening.
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