Monday, May 19, 2014

Never Let Me Go Review

I have established that The Tree of Life is, on a profound and personal level, my favorite film of all time, a masterpiece that changed my perspective on life for the better. One of my main points of emphasis in describing why the Malick film is so meaningful to me is because I walked away from the experience thinking about how the very notion of existence, the opportunity to live and breathe, was the greatest gift one could receive. The film Never Let Me Go tells the story of a group of children that attend a secluded and seemingly excellent boarding school, but their lives are flipped totally upside down once they discover that they are clones and the only reason for their creation in the first place is that they are to be used exclusively as organ donors as a way to extend life expectancy among everyone else. They would literally be giving away their bodies until their death at an age far too young, and they are forced to continue living with this knowledge and come to grips with the idea that their time on this planet would be over far sooner than most.

The reason I bring up The Tree of Life is that a film like Never Let Me Go, based on a well regarded novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, makes me wonder about the idea that all existence is a blessing and recognize that perhaps while this message is still just as hard hitting and important to me on a personal level, others who are far less fortunate than myself would beg to differ. During this film we contemplate the bigger themes of time, life, death and the unsettling ethical decisions that would have to go into creating a life for the sole purpose of ending it in order to save another, but on a storytelling level we consider these notions on a small scale level, following three specific characters as they live their lives and pursue friendships and romantic relationships despite knowing their fates are mapped out for them. 

The extremely talented cast of Never Let Me Go is essentially made up of Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley, and the methodical approach to telling their story allows each of them to shine in their own ways, not just through words but also through their expressions, mannerisms and chemistry shared among each other. While never an exciting and fun film to view, I found the pacing and mood to perfectly fit the type of story being told, and I actually think it could have benefited from being just a little bit longer then the 104 minute running time, giving us more time to explore how these characters really feel about facing death at a young age, the injustice of being given the gift of life only to have it ripped away from them without having any say in the trauma their bodies would suffer or the limited time frame they were afforded. 

I loved that the film showed that despite being brought onto this Earth as a medical advancement, a benefit to the rest of humanity through their own physical and emotional anguish rather than being treated as humans themselves, they still desired love, passion, warmth and kindness. On some level their lives were more a curse than a blessing, yet you could feel that they were on some level grateful for having the opportunity to know and love each other for the brief time they were given. I hope those that do go through such horrible circumstances, those whose lives are less than ideal in reality, get to experience some form of happiness when they had the chance. 

Never Let Me Go is a very well made and interesting film, one that still has my mind racing, perhaps more due to my own thoughts and feelings than what was actually achieved from the narrative. In the end, I got a lot out of it and some of the imagery and performances will linger in mind for some time to come.


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