Never Let Me Go
Directed by Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo), the incredibly slow-moving drama Never Let Me Go is a science-fiction tale -- but it's not set in the future. Instead, the action begins at an English boarding school in the 1980s where classmates Kathy (Isobel Meikle-Small), Tommy (Charlie Rowe) and Ruth (Ella Purnell) may seem like regular kids -- but they (and we) eventually learn that they are far from normal. Without giving much away, their lives are totally planned out -- from beginning to defined end.
The visually-stunning story jumps to the mid-1990s, with the lead characters now young adults. Picking up the roles are the excellent Carey Mulligan (An Education) as Kathy, Andrew Garfield (The Social Network, future Spider-Man) as Tommy and Keira Knightley (Atonement) as Ruth. The transition from Meikle-Small to Mulligan is a seamless achievement in great casting -- and it's a good thing since the Kathy role serves as the film's narrator. The other transitions are less believable -- something that always seems to bug me maybe more than it should.
Wrapped up in the dystopian world is a story of love, jealousy and betrayal. But the character development falls far short to really sympathize. There was such potential here -- but in the long run, not enough happens to make things interesting or truly moving. And believe me, there are things you expect should happen and don't -- and you're left frustrated as to why they're not even explored. The film also stars Charlotte Rampling (Swimming Pool) and Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky). The screenplay is by Alex Garland (28 Days Later) -- and is based on the novel of the same name by Kazuo Ishiguro, who also wrote the novel "The Remains of the Day." [Rated R; in select cities now; opening wider tomorrow]
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