Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Never Let Me Go

In an alternate Britain, three young people born into an organ donor programme, struggle with love and a short lifespan.
I'm sorry folks. How many times has this old chestnut been rolled out? Just because this is based on a Kazuo Ishiguro novel doesn't mean we have to forget a whole century of similarly themed stories. From 'Logan's Run' to 'The Island', this kind of thing has been done to death, and 'Never Let Me Go' adds very little to the mix. You'd need a donated imagination to find any of this original, and unlike 'The Island', which at least had the virtue of playing its barmy premise suitably absurdly, this po-faced retread takes its oh-so mannered time trying to reveal what we all know from the opening minutes. I suspect that more should have been made of the idea, expressed briefly at the end, that whether your life is artificially limited or not, we all must face the same problems. But again didn't 'Blade Runner' raise that notion a wee bit more entertainingly?
No, Niall, you cry, this is a LOVE STORY! You've missed the whole point! Well, no, I didn't, I just didn't find it very romantic. From the outset the protagonists are presented as children (again like 'Blade Runner'), but they stay that way throughout the movie. They have little depth, and fatally I found myself actually thinking maybe this organ cultivation malarkey isn't that bad if the donors are so, well, soulless. (The faux question of Soul is raised throughout, and again is a testament to just how little imagination is on display here. Of course it doesn't help that Carey Mulligan, so promising in 'An Education', seems in her latter movies (remember 'Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps'?) to be playing the kind of insipid wallflower that usually populates a Jane Austen opus for the sole purpose of throwing the heroine into a strong light. Here she is meant to be the heroine, not Keira Knightly, but I just got bored of the whole bloody lot of them (Andrew Garfield is the other dweeb). Then of course there's the dreariness of the 'Brazil'-type 'Somewhere in the 20th Century' Britain; the whole thing looks like the '50s of our nightmares. Hell, I'd want to die young in that place!
(So we have 'Blade Runner', 'The Island', 'Logan's Run', 'Brazil'; how many more films do I have to reference before you get the point that there is nothing original here!)
'Never Let Me Go' is not a bad movie; it takes itself far too seriously for that. But let's not kid ourselves that it is some masterpiece. Much less elevated movies have addressed issues far more complex and generated far more emotion than anything this achieves. Best to just let it go.

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