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FILM REVIEW: Never Let Me Go

22nd February 2011

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Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go tells the story of three young people who are caught in a classic love triangle. They are also born into a strange society that, without giving too much away, regards them as inhuman.

The film postulates on human worth and the pain of lost love in these circumstances, with Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel, Never Let Me Go (2005) as its source.

Director Mark Romanek has only worked in music videos and documentaries previously and his half-developed skill-set is clear. At one moment, we are moved by the sometimes subtle presentation of characters who appear haunted by worry in bleak surroundings, at the next, we are checking our watches as the film moves at a glacial speed, feeling more like a 90s ITV drama that never made it to DVD.  

People who Never Let Me Gosaw the trailer, may have been forgiven for expecting a dramatic and emotional roller-coaster of a film that would tick all the boxes of a romantic drama. In one respect, they would be satisfied due to the film’s emotional power which is unquestionable. The film creates a hugely depressing sense of a lack of hope, mainly achieved by the Social Network’s Andrew Garfield. He contradicts his character’s optimism beautifully with his hopeless situation. There are also solild performances by Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan. However, there is very little excitement or drama. Any momentum that is created in the early scenes is lost by the middle of the film and is never to be seen again.

The relevance of the story to the audience is also questionable. The novel on which the film is based is clearly inspired by George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. Whereas Orwell taught us about politics and human principles, Ishiguro’s story lacks the human significance of Nineteen Eighty-Four. The consequence is that though we are moved by the film it inspires, we learn nothing.

Romanek offers here, an emotive piece that is sure to move the viewer. However, they may be reticent to be moved again because of the film’s chronic pace-problems and lack of relevance.

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