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Never Let Me Go (2010)

DVD Cover (Fox Searchlight)
Director:
Mark Romanek Mark Romanek
Starring:
Carey Mulligan Carey Mulligan
Andrew Garfield Andrew Garfield
Izzy Meikle-Small Izzy Meikle-Small
Charlie Rowe Charlie Rowe
Ella Purnell Ella Purnell
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> Best Films of 2010

7.1 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Escape Film, Psychological Sci-Fi, Science Fiction
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: October 28, 2010
There are few directors who can evoke the same haunting imagery as Mark Romanek. Since his early days as a master music video director, Romanek has always stood-out as one of the most daring and visual filmmakers out there. His first feature, "One Hour Photo", bore this trademark and has cemented itself as one of the stand-out films from the past decade. "Never Let Me Go" is his second feature film effort and it's the film he went to directly after he left "The Wolfman". Based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, it tells a complicated story that borders on science fiction and it does so with the steady hand of a new cinematic master.

The film opens at Hailsham, a seemingly idyllic English boarding school where children are trained and groomed to be 'special'. But, from the ominous foreword at the beginning of the picture, we know something odd is going on at this school. The children at Hailsham are 'special' all right. They are a school of clones created for one sole purpose -- ton donate their organs until their life terminates. These children will grow into young adults but before they hit thirty will likely expire, on their third or fourth donation. These kids know their role and accept it and most even seem excited to be doing what they are doing. "Never Let Me Go" follows three friends from Hailsham throughout the courses of their all too brief lives.

Kathy (Carey Mulligan) is a carer, meaning she travels across the country taking care of the donors until their lives expire. Tommy (Andrew Garfield) is the love of her life but has always seemed more interested in Ruth (Keira Knightley). This odd love triangle is the heart of the film and carries it from beginning to end. Here are three characters who know they are going to die at a very young age but seem content to do so. It is their lot in life and then have accepted it even if the audience has not. "Never Let Me Go" is an ethereal and moody piece that winds along to the inevitable conclusion. It treats these people with respect and their situation and it never once questions why these kids just go along with the flow. It's just expected that they should.

Romanek has made a modern day masterpiece the likes of which I have neither seen nor felt in a very long time. The premise of this film is total science fiction but it never feels that way. That's because Romanek doesn't spend a lot of time on the events that have made these kids what they are. Rather he spends that time focusing on the relationships and character development and what makes these kids tick. Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley are all in top-form here and any of them could receive an acting nod at the Academy Awards and I would be fine. Charlotte Rampling is also very effective as the head mistress at the boarding school. It was also nice to see the terrific Sally Hawkins pop up in a supporting role that really does pack some punch.

"Never Let Me Go" is the best film of the year, by miles. It evoked a feeling in me that is rare and it left me feeling like I had just experienced the latest effort from one of the truly great directors. I hope Romanek does not take so much time before his next project. Let me also take a moment to recognize the fantastic screenplay from Alex Garland who gave us "28 Days Later" and "Sunshine". He knows how to handle tough material and he continues to prove he is one of the best writers around. All of that said, "Never Let Me Go" is a must see. I cannot wait to see it again...and again...and again...and again... 10/10.
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