Sometimes films surpass the point of mere entertainment, and delve into universal questions that people try to avoid. Never Let Me Go examines the questions of mortality within a unique science fiction plot, stripped of the typical high- tech setting. Mark Romanek directs a beautiful film with three stirring performances, producing a work that deeply resonates within all of us.
The three main performances, coming from Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley, are all heartbreakingly sincere. All are completely genuine as they deal with their short time on earth. Mulligan, as Kathy, projects a quiet resilience, as she comforts those surrounding her with open arms. Garfield, as Tommy, is a hopeful, artistic creature that occasionally bursts with anger. Knightley, as Ruth, projects a jealous nature that she yearns to make up for. Everyone is equally fantastic, even Sally Hawkins as Miss Lucy gives a beautiful performance, despite her short screen-time.
The cinematography of the film is simultaneously breathtaking and tragic. Romanek captures the sweeping energy of nature and places the characters in wide open, endless spaces; a contradiction to the characters. All the colors come from a muted palette, creating an atmosphere that is gentle and comforting. The English boarding school that Kathy, Tommy and Ruth attend gives off an appropriate feeling of faded time, and even an eeriness.
Based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, and adapted for the silver screen by Alex Garland, the plot of the film deals with the consequences of scientific progression, but most importantly the acceptance of mortality. Death is inevitable, and we all know it, but it will forever be a novelty. Never Let Me Go doesn’t answer the questions surrounding mortality because nobody has them; however, the film examines those questions. Although we know we’re going to die, the film suggests life is beautiful simply because we have the ability to feel.
Just like any other film that was based off a novel, there will be those that prefer that novel. For some, the film may be too short to do the novel justice. Many may also keep away from the film because it deals with themes that are described to be depressing, and for many that simply want to be entertained, bold themes won’t cut it. In addition, the film’s pace maybe too slow for some, as the film is void of action and is driven by the characters interactions with each other and their takes on life.
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