Never Let Me Go
Directed by: Marc Romanek Cast: Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, Keira Knightley Running Time: 1 hr 35 mins Rating: R Release Date: September 24, 2010 (limited)
PLOT: The life story of three friends (Mulligan, Garfield, Knightley) who are raised in a strict orphanage.
WHO'S IT FOR?: Patient filmgoers who can accept the odd routes a movie may decide to take for the sake of understanding the full picture.
EXPECTATIONS: From its trip on the festival circuit, I had heard very mixed things about the film, without having a single detail revealed. It was mostly my faith in author Kazuo Ishiguro that held my curiosity.
Carey Mulligan as Kathy H.: Her delicate nature never becomes the least bit insincere, and her sorrow translates well beyond the visible lonesome tears that roll down her cheeks. Through the movie's course of events she sustains an outsider's position, and takes the audience hand in hand with her as she tries to figure out just how much love the world she's living in has in store for her. Score: 8
Andrew Garfield as Tommy: Don't call him Jack Tripper just yet. Garfield has a very pipsqueak nature to him, which seems to be his method of becoming endearing to the audience. It works enough to have us on his side, and to pass the idea that he's not simple a man stuck between two women. He is quite obviously something more fragile than that. Score: 7
Keira Knightley as Ruth: Beyond her looks and power that she has over Tommy, Ruth might be the film's most tragic character. Knightley does a fantastic job in dealing us both her dominant side, while soon delivering an incredibly vulnerable presence that has the audience reconsidering exactly how much power she may have always had. Score: 7
TALKING: Kathy H. chimes with poetic narration in at the beginning and end of the film, something that provides the proper amount of voice-over for a movie that already feels like it has the proper amount of silence. Score: 7
SIGHTS: Cinematography adds its own emotion to the story, as there are multiple moments of resonant imagery that make this story all the more heartfelt. Indicating a sense of belittlement, the characters are constantly dwarfed by locations (schools, streets) that are captured with beautiful wide shots. Even the poster indicates the film’s particular visual style, which constantly has the characters existing in weather with uncertain gloominess, while trying to live in landscapes that seem like they also traps. Score: 9
SOUNDS: Making more noise in the movie than the characters, a beautiful string-heavy score adds a proper whimsical nature to the film. As for the title of the movie, it comes from a soul song that receives a couple of plays in the whole duration. Score: 7
BEST SCENE: The entire "Cottages" segment is most likely the most striking scene, especially since it offers an unnerving sense of what "reality" these beloved characters may or may not be living in.
ENDING: Two plastic knots tied to barb wire, blowing in the wind.
REWATCHABILITY: It's not a film that can immediately revisited, but it is one that I would love to share with someone special.
Crafted like a short poem with near-infinite beauty, Never Let Me Go has a small smile with a tear in its eye, while looking intensely into the face of all oppressive forces. It's a bit heavy-handed with its hippie-like undercurrents, but its delicate examples of the power of love remain its most poignant factor. Wonderfully represented by this shattering art film, love is a fleeting beauty, especially when all of our clocks are ticking. We shouldn't let it go.
FINAL SCORE: 8/10