Sunday, September 26, 2010

Movie with Abe: Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go
Directed by Mark Romanek
Released September 15, 2010

"Never Let Me Go," not to be confused with vampire movie remake "Let Me In," is a film that takes its title from a song but also manages to extract a deeper dual meaning. It's half dystopian vision, half love triangle, and the mixture of the two isn't always smooth, but it's certainly intriguing and intoxicating. At its heart, it's a story about three innocent people who can only possibly glimpse a tiny portion of the world in their short time spent in it.

"Never Let Me Go" handles its material far more adeptly than the similarly-themed brainless 2004 film "The Island" starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson, wisely choosing to focus on the complexities of romance and morality rather than mindless violence and explosions (additionally, this one is based on a novel, while the other was a Michael Bay movie). This film also smartly keeps its characters and its audience in the dark regarding the preciseness of what's going on, almost never directly acknowledging that the characters have a full grasp on what is happening to them and why they exist. It's a bold and effective decision that creates a thought-provoking filmic experience.

The tone of "Never Let Me Go" is a melancholy, tragic one, reminiscent of "Atonement." The comparison doesn't come to mind only because of the presence of Keira Knightley in both projects; rather it has to do with the sense of time passing remarkably quickly without having the chance to experience much of the world due to immature childhood decisions. It's a film that relies heavily on its sparse events to fuel further contemplation, and therefore isn't an entirely satisfying movie during the 103 minutes of its runtime.

Two young actresses who have proven themselves quite talented in recent years, Knightley and Carey Mulligan, are at the head of the cast and deliver mediocre performances that aren't poor but also aren't their best. Sally Hawkins ("Happy-Go-Lucky") has a memorable small part, but the greatest turn here comes from the fantastic Andrew Garfield, soon to be seen in "The Social Network" and then as the new Spider-Man, as the eternally boyish and innocent Tommy, who runs around well past his adolescence as if he were still a young child. He embodies what is most powerful about this film: what it is to live a life without knowing what experiences one is missing out on and how someone like that tempers his or her curiosity to have a fulfilling existence.


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