Review: Never Let Me Go

13 02 2011

After meeting with friends yesterday, I had time some time to kill. There’s a lot of buzz surrounding Never Let Me Go at the moment so I thought I’d check it out.

It’s going to be quite difficult to review this one as there’s a rather large element in the plot that the promotional people have tried to keep under wraps. I had a smug moment in the screening when they revealed this big mystery and I’d just happened to guess it in the car on the way there. In retrospect I don’t think it’s that big a deal if people know about it beforehand but I guess it kind of peaks your interest.

I know, this is all very tenuous! Let me get to the stuff I can talk about… NLMG is based on the eponymous novel by Kazuo Ishiguro and tells the story of 3 children – Kathy, Ruth and Tommy, who are pupils at Hailsham in the 1970’s – an idyllic boarding school located deep in the English countryside. Tommy is bullied by the other boys, Kathy takes pity on him and they become close friends. Jealous of their relationship, Ruth steals Tommy away from Kathy and the story becomes that of a love triangle.

You’re probably thinking it sounds rather tame, but there are extremely sinister undertones when the purpose of Hailsham and the children’s reason for existence are revealed. The film then rips you from the traditional English fantasy and throws you into a dystopian nightmare with the original love triangle thrown in! Carey Mulligan, who plays Kathy and Izzy Meikle-Small  who plays the young Kathy, both put on very convincing performances and Keira Knightley, who I find is somewhat hit and miss, is also an interesting screen presence. Andrew Garfield however, ruined the film for me. I liked him in The Social Network but since I saw an interview with him and he came across as a gargantuan douchebag, it’s gets in the way of me suspending my disbelief.

It’s a really neat idea, but as soon as the big plotline is revealed I couldn’t get on board. Normally a storyline like this is set in a distant future or a past that we are all to young to remember – but the seventies, eighties and nineties? Too much of a stretch for my tiny imagination!

Touching in places, with some good central performances but a bit slow moving.

2/5

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