The drama “Never Let Me Go” is moody and pessimistic, luring with its scenic landscapes and coming-of-age trappings before unveiling its subdued science fiction conundrums. At a boarding school in England, youngsters are raised and educated before their eventual service as donors. These clones’ organs will be harvested, a continuous process until they run out of parts vital to their survival.
Directed by Mark Romanek and written by Alex Garland, “Never Let Me Go” is based on the book by Kazuo Ishiguro. Narrator Kathy (Carey Mulligan) befriends the emotional and artistic Tommy (Andrew Garfield), but the friendship is stifled by his relationship with the envious Ruth (Keira Knightley). The three grow up together and face preordained objectives, realizing necessary--and sometimes painful--truths along the way.
There’s a pervading sadness to the film; the characters are very human but don’t really exploit free will to redefine their purpose. They do entertain the thought of living differently, but they don’t do anything drastic to alter their fates. The feeling of inescapability translates very well thanks to the actors, often expressing vulnerability and resignation with authenticity.
Romanek’s music video background isn’t immediately obvious, as his penchant for snappy, stylish imagery is replaced by more lingering, more meaningful shots; however, the visuals are still well-composed, despite the toned-down audacity. He’s proven himself a good storyteller a while back, and does so again with this gloomy but perceptive film.
“Never Let Me Go” is an Ayala Cinemas exclusive.