EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?
|NEVER LET ME GO (director: Mark Romanek; screenwriters: Alex Garland/based on the novel by ; cinematographer: Adam Kimmel; editor: Barney Pilling; music: Rachel Portman; cast: (Kathy H.), Andrew Garfield (Tommy), (Ruth), Isobel Meikle-Small (Young Kathy), Ella Purnell (Young Ruth), Charlie Rowe (Young Tommy), (Miss Emily), (Miss Lucy), Nathalie Richard (Madame), Andrea Riseborough (Chrissie), Domhnall Gleeson (Rodney); Runtime: 103; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Andrew MacDonald/Allon Reich; Fox Searchlight Pictures; 2010-UK/USA)|
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Writer Alex Garland
bases his faithful screenplay on the popular 2005 sci-fi novel by Mark
Romanek ("One Hour Photo") keeps things visually stimulating and less
hauntingly sci-fi and more allegorically humanistic and lugubrious than the novel. It's set in
England, and tells about the evolutionary
advance in the harvesting of
essential organs from specially bred human clones. It's narrated by the 28-year-old Kathy H. (), who calls herself a "carer" (nursing donors). She's an innocent and sober-minded participant
in life-saving experiments for the fortunate but one of self-sacrifice
for the artificially created donors such as herself. The seemingly
peculiar, controversial and exploitative experiment is treated by Kathy
as if it were a normal thing to do, since she doesn't seem to know
At Hailsham, the British boarding school
educates the chosen youngsters to be on a mission of sacrifice they
barely understand. We follow, starting in 1978, the lives of three
chosen students as they attend school and then grow up in this insular
environment without worldly contact into adults--Kathy H, Tommy (Andrew
Garfield) and Ruth (. While at the country
retreat a love triangle develops among the three sheltered students and
the more forward Ruth steals Tommy away from Kathy, the one who really
loves Tommy. By 1994, Kathy has become a carer and is separated
from the other two, and in a sobering way learns to deal with life's
emotional problems and the facing of death.
The ambitious movie is an uneven effort to tells us something about the impermanence of life that usually remains unspoken. It's too bland in its conventional filmmaking to excite and never gives us enough info about the children or what's really going on to decide for ourselves if we are witnessing something grossly evil by oppressors who act as if they're 'angels of mercy.' Nevertheless, it is interesting when the young trio deal with the lies, the rumors and the misunderstandings they gather from life that made them into what they became. There's also good performances by the three leads and the supporting players such as Charlotte Rampling (as the school's head mistress), Sally Hawkins (as the concerned teacher who gets fired after telling the kids the truth about their self-sacrificing mission), and Nathalie Richard (as the lesbian partner of the head mistress and school patron of the arts, one of the benevolent oppressors who can only say at the end things are out of her control).
REVIEWED ON 12/8/2010 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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