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Bleak and haunting — Never Let Me Go

Bleak and haunting — Never Let Me Go

Carey Mulligan, left, and Keira Knightley "Never let Me Go." (AP Photo/Fox Searchlight, Alex Bailey)

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An austere and melancholy tale, Never Let Me Go takes place in a dystopian Britain.

Based on a novel of the same name written by Kazuo Ishiguro, and directed by Mark Romanek, the film is set in the recent past (the mid sixties to mid eighties), but imagines a controlled world where life has been extended and catastrophic illness eliminated, thanks to an evolutionary advance.

SPOILER ALERT:

It is gradually and chillingly revealed that human beings are deliberately cloned to be used as harvest grounds in order to provide donor organs for transplants.

END SPOILER.

The young ingénue star of An Education, as well as the upcoming Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, Carey Mulligan co-stars alongside Pirates of the Caribbean star Keira Knightley and the next Spiderman, Andrew Garfield.

Kathy (Mulligan), Tommy (Garfield) and Ruth (Knightley) live in a world and a time that feel familiar to us, but are not quite like anything we know. They spend their childhood at Hailsham, a seemingly idyllic English boarding school. When they leave the shelter of the school and the terrible truth of their fate is revealed to them, they must also confront the deep feelings of love, jealousy and betrayal that threaten to pull them apart.

The film is narrated by 28 year-old Kathy H. as she reminisces about her childhood at Hailsham, as well as her adult life after leaving the school.

Ishiguro is a fine writer who uses an oblique and gentle style, hence the truth of the matter is made clear only gradually, using veiled but suggestive language and situations.

SPOILER ALERT:

Kathy and her classmates eventually learn they have been created to be donors, though the adult Kathy is temporarily working as a “˜carer,”™ someone who supports and comforts donors, ushering them through the process as they are made to give up their organs and, eventually, submit to death.

END SPOILER.

While the film may move at a snail”™s pace, patient viewers will find enough rewards if they surrender to this achingly sad meditation on the fragility of relationships, the brevity of life and the mysteries of death.

Never Let Me Go is the perfect movie for a gloomy, introspective day.

Review by Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.

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