Movie review – Ethical twist in desperately tragic and shocking tale

2011-03-25 09:19

Film: Never Let Me Go (Nu Metro)
Director: Mark Romanek
Featuring: Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Sally Hawkins
Rating: 8/10

A look at director Mark Romanek’s CV as primarily a music-video ­director who’s worked with the likes of Madonna, REM and Michael Jackson ­offers no clue as to why he does such a spectacular job of this, a historical sci-fi ­drama.

However, the writing credits hold all the answers as to how Never Let Me Go is a great mix of mystery, horror and poignancy.

Alex ­Garland – who wrote the bestseller, The Beach – and Kazuo Ishiguro, who penned Remains of the Day, are the writers behind this heart-rending tale.

Never Let Me Go is the tale of a trio of school friends – Kathy (Carey Mulligan), Tommy (Andrew Garfield) and Ruth (Keira ­Knightley) – who spend their childhood in a seemingly bucolic paradise at boarding school.

But there’s something very rotten in Hailsham School.

These are not the pampered children of rich parents or indeed the children of any parents – they are alive for a sinister purpose.

Set in the 70s, 80s and 90s; it is the England of a parallel universe, one in which the wonders of medical science have led society down a very different path, and one that solved its ethical dilemmas differently – with consequences that might have been foreseen but which are studiously ignored.

As this strange and disturbing tale unfolds, it does so against the backdrop of the love triangle ­between Ruth, Kathy and Tommy.

Their co-dependent relationship is forged by the circumstances of their lives and their almost feral, often naive, natures seem odd ­until the context of their lives is revealed.

It would spoil this incredibly clever, desperately tragic and quite shocking story to say any more.

However, the ethical question at the centre of this story will haunt you for a long time after the tale is told. 

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