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Jan 30, 2012

Never Let Me Go

This is a movie that never could be American. An American would never sit back and take it, as cliched as it may sound, it is true. Never Let Me Go is an English film that can only be made in a non-Hollywood place where they speak English, which makes the prime choice for such a location – England. 

Is it Orwellian? Not really, because beyond the limits of the special boarding school called Hilsham, which is the focus of the movie, free society exists. The unpersons or persons without a future only exist within similar such boarding schools. The color scheme and the mood is subdued in browns and beiges, tinted with a pervasive sense of melancholy.

The most obvious question a viewer will ask at the end of the movie is, why don’t they try to escape? Maybe the best answer comes from the author of the novel that the movie is based on, Kazuo Ishiguro in an interview about Never Let Me Go explains that he meant the lives of the donor children (the children who are brought up in these special boarding schools) as a metaphor of our lives, as to reflect on why we accept death as the end and do not try to escape it.

There is no rebellion against fate anywhere in the story, only weak requests that fizzle our before they begin. It is a difficult story to capture in film, it is a better fit as novel where you can explore words and allegories, chew upon the its and your existential cud. On screen, when you watch characters play out these doomed roles, you want to exhort them not to sit back and take it. 

But the script(Alex Garland), actors, director(Mark Romanek) and the art has worked together to bring a challenging narrative to a beautifully made film. Who would’ve thought to cast Keira Knightley in a dark role with black bangs to match? Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield fits the bill as film's subdued and hapless protagonists. The children who portrayed the characters in their childhood are just as good as the adult actors. A touching and dark movie.