Buff Review Show Holds on for Dear Life *clings*
One of the handful of DVD’s out this Monday, check out my review for one of my favourite pieces of cinema from this year so far!
Never Le Me Go
Never Let Me Go is a tough film to review, because unlike a lot of films where I can discuss a great deal of the plot without giving too much away, this film is one of those kinds where it twists and turns throughout. So to give anything away would be like revealing the final spoiler to films like Sixth Sense or Shutter Island. So if my review of this film seems brief then please forgive me, but use what I do tell you about the film and the performances given by the young cast, and my overall opinions, to decide whether you should see it or not.
As the prologue rolls across the screen you could be forgiven for thinking this is some sort of sci-fi flick. All it shows are a brief couple of paragraphs outlining that, in the early 1950s and 60s, a way was found to cure thosee incurable diseases of the world, and that people were living more and more into their 100s of years than ever before. And that’s really as far as that idea goes to begin with. You find out more over the course of the film, and a lot of what is going on if left for you to work out. Every new question you have is answered almost as you have just managed to piece it together in your own head, which really surprised me as I normally like to think that I am a step or two ahead of the average film.
But this film is anything but average. Mark Romanek’s film, scripted by Alex Garland, and adapted from the original novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, is a beautifully profound insight into life, love and death. The cast and crew behind ‘Never Let Me Go’ truly deliver a piece of cinema that demonstrates the best and very worst of human behaviour, the beauty of a love that, although stunted, lasts the lifetime of the character involved, and the pure heroism of accepting the responsibility of fate.
A lot of people will say the film is morbid and saddening, but despite the melancholy tone and bare, understated feel to the entire production, the story is memorable and almost uplifting when thought about afterwards. It’s a film that you will love or hate, but you won’t necessarily know which until some time after the film has ended. It took me and my friend a good couple of hours, and a bit of thought and discussion, for us to really get a feel for the film. I came out of the film knowing that I liked it. It was the why that baffled me for a little while.
Though the film has been tipped for very few of the higher nominations this awards season, it is quietly brilliant in a way that, the reward for the actors and crew, is probably the enjoyment of the few people out there who will love this film for what it is. I saw this in the premier screen at the cinema, and it was less than two-thirds full, and probably a quarter of those people walked out over the course of the film. Most were complaining that the film was boring or that nothing was happening. And although the film has a slightly uneven pace at times, it is anything but boring.
Insightful is the word. It really delves in to what makes us human, and brings up so many thoughts and conversations and topics that you don’t have every day, and suddenly find yourself discussing, literally, matters of life or death following the film. This is what Hereafter SHOULD have been going for and completely missed the mark on last week, and Never Let Me Go didn’t need a Tsunami or Matt Damon to get the messages across.
Strong, noteworthy performances from the younger cast, who played the pre-teen versions of Mulligan, Knightley and Garfield, not only set up their respective characters nicely, but got the mannerisms and looks for their respective older counterparts down perfectly. Andrew Garfield (form the Social Network, and also the new Spiderman film) standouts out as Tommy, and Keira Knightley is strong as always as Ruth. But I, like many other reviewers have agreed, felt it is Carey Mulligan who steals the show as Kathy. Quietly passionate at every turn, and never once is her part over or under played.
The film does play out slightly differently to the book, which does go for the big reveal at the end of the story, whereas the film lets it slip halfway through, but many fans of the book have been fans of the film. It is almost as if you need to go into the film within the mindset that you are watching a foreign film. ‘Never Let Me Go’ is that different sort of disturbing in modern cinema, and certainly doesn’t try and take a backseat to the emotion and power behind the script, even if the middle third of the film just inch along a little slowly, as mentioned earlier.
Mark Romanek is, my reputation, an outstanding music video director, and ‘Never Let Me Go’ is only his second feature film, although you wouldn’t know it. Romanek shows a maturity and patience behind the camera that is not only rare for young filmmakers but for veteran ones as well. His use of focus leads to one of the most beautifully shot films of the year so far.
And that really is all I can say for ‘Never Let Me Go’. It’ll be a definite DVD purchase for myself (27th June), but some less brave readers out there may want to rent it first. The pace as tone is reminiscent of the relationship scenes in Brokeback Mountain, quiet and slow-paced throughout, but continuously riveting. So if you enjoyed that, or have a fondness for slower paced foreign films, with a twist, than ‘Never Let Me Go’ will be for you.