Friday, March 18, 2011

Never Let Me Go

Finals week, Winter Quarter 2011.  I check my home library website to see if anything is in for pickup (yes, our library is ranked one of the best in the country and they loan out a collection of CDs and DVDs, among other important library artifacts.)  Well, I login to my account and I COMPLETELY freak out when I see "Never Let Me Go" sitting on the top of the list, saying Ready for Pickup.  Ever since I read the book I have been dying to see this movie.  So last night I finally got to watch "Never Let Me Go".  And yes, my continuing admiration with Andrew Garfield was fulfilled. Now that I am on spring break, I can endulge in a list of movies I have been waiting to see. To me, admiring the form of a film is way more fun than getting drunk on a beach in the Gulf, an experience you wouldn't even remember the next day.

Anyway, I was impressed with the art direction and how the tone of the movie was very comparable to the book.  Just look at the movie poster above. Every detail, from how the movie title begins to fall apart to two of the characters running along an empty bridge out to a vast and faceless sea, is impressive.  The muted tones of the poster are also reflective of the movie's intentions and emotions.  However, I was not pleased with the DVD cover (below).  SPOILER: The middle picture ruins a large part of the conflict in the film.  Kathy H and Tommy's love is a major plot point that spans the majority of the book (the book shows a much more emotional account than the movie).  But right there they ruin it for the audience, leaving Ruth on the outside.

I always say the book is better than the film.  That statement holds true, but I will give credit to the outstanding casting of Kathy H (Carey Mulligan) and Tommy D (Andrew Garfield). Ruth, played by Kiera Knightley, was also a great casting decision.  I just believe Carey and Andrew are two of the best up-and-coming actors out there.

The movie follows the previously mentioned trio of actors as they grow up in a very controlled environment.  Very slowly, their physical state emerges not as humans, but as clones grown only to harvest organs.  After clones have donated an average of three times, they 'complete'.  The class learns of their fate from a very forward Miss Lucy (Sally Hawkins), the only teacher at Hailsham who seems to be on the children's side.  As the audience becomes more aware of these facts, the horror of the clones' lives becomes more real and disturbing as this could be a way to better future human generations in a time closer than we think.  I think the use of the word 'complete' is very creative because it sets the clones aside from the humans in that clones cannot die.

Another important theme is the difference between clone and human.  As explained from the very beginning, the clones' lives are determined.  No trips to the United States. Only a short life before their vital organs are harvested in a sequence of surgeries.  I think the portrayal of clones by such great actors and real performances shows that the life of a human and of a clone are almost one and the same. What is the difference between the two?  Should clones lead such a short life if they have just as much to offer as any other being? Do clones have the capacity for a soul?  These are some of the questions that are asked, and attemped to be answered during this movie.

The movie ends as Kathy H stares into the sun, an open field, and symbolically, her future, saying to herself and to the audience: "What I'm not sure about is if our lives have been so different from the lives of the people we save."

I definitely recommend this film if you are into sci-fi, drama, or just impressive acting!

Here are a few stills from the movie:
The scene with the beached ship is a vital and
symbolic scene in both the book and movie.

The random patches of grass on the beach are directly
representative of how the trio feels about their lives as clones.

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