Posted on 2/04/11 01:14 PM
Mix Michael Bay's 'The Island' with M. Night Shyamalan's 'The Village', take out the action and the horror, and you'll get a good idea of the premise of 'Never Let Me Go', Mark Romanek's powerfully faithful adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's novel. While the characters in the movie may seem somewhat distant for most audience, it is only one of the many social and political allegories that are scattered throughout the film that capture the essence of the novel.
'Never Let Me Go' follow three children, Ruth (Kiera Knightley), Kathy (Carey Mulligan) and Tommy (Andrew Garfield), that go to Hailsham, a school for clones meant to provide vital organs to normal humans when necessary. Now you see how it is a lot like 'The Island.' Rest assured, the children are aware of their purpose though, as they are raised to believe that they are actually doing something honorable. They don't look forward to careers, they look forward to how many donations they can survive. You would think they could just run away at any time, but they are essentially brain-washed, similar to the way the residents of 'The Village' are, into fearing the outside world, although they eventually are allowed to leave the school when they are old enough. The school also keeps tabs on their whereabouts at all times with these bracelet thingys.
Kathy develops a strong liking for Tommy at a young age, although the two never do anything about it, that is, because Ruth becomes aware of their bond and takes Tommy for her own. Tommy's reluctance to stay in his meaningless relationship with Ruth when he is well aware of Kathy's feelings for him represents one of the many trials of these characters as they desperately try to prove they have souls. The three separate when they get older and begin to donate, but Kathy decides reunite the gang for one last road trip before, well, they die. Bonds are rekindled and you wish you could understand how they feel, but the distance between these characters and the audience remains long throughout the movie, to prove how no one could really understand what's going on in the heads of these three.
'Never Let Me Go' raises its own questions outside of the movie, as to why humans behave the way they do in and out of love, why they succumb so easily to beliefs established at a young age, and why they let these things affect their mode of thinking throughout life. You see how innocent they are when their lives are controlled so heavily by outside forces, only because they are not believed to have souls. The whole tragic human allegory that drives the movie rests in the leaders of Hailsham, who have misconceived perceptions of their own, and thus give the "clones" an unfair life only because of their falsely-disadvantaged segregation.
The performances are outstanding, as well as the beautifully dark score and the lush cinematography. It'll make you shed a tear or two, or maybe you just don't care. Many tragic, heartfelt and depressing moments fill this film, so if you like movies like 'A Very Long Engagement,' 'Life is Beautiful,' 'Two Lovers,' or 'Blue Valentine,' and find that kinda stuff to be beautiful, then you're probably going to love this movie like I did. If not then you're gonna think it's one big, dull, depression trip.