Written by Senora Bicho
I wasn’t sure what I was expecting when I started Never Let Me Go, I had heard good things about it and was anxious to see it but as it turns out I had no idea what it was about. While the story features some fantastical ideas, the film addresses real life issues that warrant contemplation and reflection.
Kathy (Carey Mulligan), Ruth (Keira Knightly), and Tommy (Andrew Garfield) are best friends while growing up at an English boarding school. It is quickly apparent that it is not an ordinary school: the students wear wrist bands for tracking, their teachers are called “guardians,” and they are told terrible stories about what has happened to students who have attempted to leave the school grounds.
A new guardian starts at the school, who after becoming emotionally connected to the children, informs them that they are genetically engineered clones whose sole purpose is to donate vital organs. They will never have jobs, travel or experience normal life. Once these creatures reach the age of 18, they are moved from the boarding school into the cottages to prepare for their first donation.
They also learn that in addition to being donors, they have the opportunity to volunteer to be carers. Carers are responsible for the well-being of the donors they are assigned to until they complete. Once they reach a certain age, they must start donating themselves. Kathy, having once loved Tommy, starts to pull away due to the increasing romance he has with Ruth and decides to become a carer. They part ways when their time at the cottages is over and are eventually brought back together by chance to explore unresolved feelings and conflicts.
Never Let Me Go is a provocative and touching film. How far is a society willing to go to cure cancer and other serious illnesses? While this is one of the main themes of the film, it provides insight into so many other relevant issues in current everyday life. Love, loss, living life to the fullest, belonging, loneliness and fear just to mention a few. The acting is superb. Mulligan manages to elicit all of the emotions her character experiences with such clarity and realness. I have never been a big Knightly fan but her subdued performance here is perfection. I was able to connect and sympathize with her character. Garfield is terrific as well as the simple boy caught in the middle of these two girls.
The film is impressive from a cinematic standpoint and really benefits from Blu-ray high definition. It has been given a 1080p/MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer displayed at 2.35:1. The work of cinematographer Adam Kimmel and his team looks exquisite. The hues of the subdued color scheme are strong. The picture shows great clarity in details like the textures of clothing and buildings. Blacks are deep and contribute to the well-defined contrast. The audio is available as DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Though dialogue driven, the soundtrack offers very good ambiance, both indoors and outside, to immerse the viewer. Also heard throughout is Rachel Portman’s score. All elements are balanced evenly together.
There are very few extras but there isn’t much to be expected with this type of film. “The Secrets of Never Let Me Go” is a behind-the-scenes featurette on the making of the film which includes interviews with the cast and crew. There are many small details of the film that merit attention and enhance the viewing experiance. Watching it left me with the desire to watch to the film again. “Mark Romanek’s On-Set Photograph” offers beautiful, thought provoking and emotional pictures shot during the filming. They say a picture says a thousand words and here that couldn’t be truer. “Tommy’s Art” highlights the character’s integral drawings, the viewer is only given a brief glispe of these works of art during the film and being able to reflect on them after the film provides insight into the thoughts and emotions of the character. “National Donor Programme & Hailsham Campaign Graphics” is a brief photo array of these materials and there is also the thearical trailer.
I will watch Never Let Me Go again and again and have no doubt that I will get something different out of it each time. I watched it by myself and was really wishing at the end that I had watched it with someone to be able to further analyze and discuss. Therefore, I highly reccomend finding a buddy and giving this film a viewing.