NEVER LET ME GO
MOVIE: ***1/2 (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
In an alternate reality, human cloning was developed in the 1950s in order to provide donor organs for the main population. The story, told in flashback from one of the clones in her adulthood, recounts her experiences while at her boarding school, how she discovered her true purpose in life and how she fell in love for another one of the clones from the school.
WHAT I LIKED
I have always enjoyed the science fiction realm, and while I do love the hard sci-fi films that make up the summer tent pole season, I also admire more speculative pieces that tell a human story outside of the gadgetry and action.
“Never Let Me Go” is one of the best treatments of the cloning issue that we’ve seen in films like “Part: The Clonus Horror” and its criminally imitative unofficial rehash “The Island.” Rather than going for the hard-edge science fiction action, “Never Let Me Go” examines the characters of the issue. It opens up the questions of how the human soul fits into the mix, which is something that people have been debating ever since they realized that real cloning was possible.
At its heart, “Never Let Me Go” is a dramatic love story, and it works fantastically on that level. But it’s also has elements of speculative horror, beyond the sci-fi background. After all, I challenge anyone to watch this film and not contemplate the human rights violations being committed without question. Watching the movie, even knowing it’s a work of fiction, gave me a sinking feeling.
So yes, “Never Let Me Go” is a beautifully acted and heartbreaking story of young love, but it opens up more thoughts that just from that angle of storytelling.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE
The only issues I would take with this film would be in its construction as being too heavy on the dramatic angle and pushing the greater human rights issues to the side. In an attempt to humanize the characters and focus on their emotions exclusively, the film misses some opportunities for a greater statement. I know that’s not what the filmmakers were going for, but as the most effective examination of cloning issues to come out of Hollywood, I would have liked to have seen more.
The Blu-ray includes a lengthy behind-the-scenes featurette that, quite honestly, is a bit of a snoozer. It’s very self-congratulatory and drags along without hitting the point often enough. There are also two montages, one of director Mark Romanek’s on-set photography and the other of the many pieces of artwork from the character of Tommy.
Finally, the most intriguing bonus feature for me was the faux advertising campaigns of the National Donor Programme and the graphics from the Hailsham Campaign. In a strange way, these short presentations touched more effectively on the issues at hand than the film itself.
WHO’S GOING TO LIKE THIS MOVIE
Fans of dramatic speculative fiction that wants their science fiction to be more artsy.