Tuesday, 15 February 2011

We are modelled on trash

Never Let Me Go (2010)
Chosen by me as I like to go to the cinema a lot.

There is a habit in science fiction films to over explain, to set out the rules of it's world unsubtly, reams of exposition (not always badly delivered) t explain something that doesn't really matter. Never Let Me Go certainly does not have that problem. Unfortunately, quite the opposite. It works in all the small details of the world (the casual way they scan their wristbands, the pills and milk)  but fails to find a big picture, it's never clear why the world accept the way things are.
The reason this doesn't work is that the main characters are so passive, so passionless that the movies focus on the romance angle (and throws in a question about the nature of a soul to show it's a serious science fiction film not some nickel and dime B picture - except of course they often ask these questions too, so it's really nothing special) singularly fails to engage.
Andrew Garfield is good but the role so wet (he pretty much just does what ever anyone tells him) that it's hard to believe he is in love, or care whether he has a soul or not.
The moment that is meant to kick the tear ducts into gear never takes off (for one it's fairly obvious that he's not not going to get what he wants - the excellent Carey Mulligan plays it as though she probably knows) because even his anger is passive.
Why do the donors go along with everything? Why does the world go along with everything? Had we had a stronger love story these questions wouldn't have mattered but it is so austere and sterile, even one characters death barely registers. If the characters themselves don't seem to care much about their fate why should we?
The casting for the younger Carey Mulligan was uncanny, had her mannerisms down pat.

1 comment:

  1. I've recently read the book, which is excellent, and foolishly did so before I watched the film. I've finally had chance to catch the film, and was a little disappointed with how it turned out on screen. In the novel, the passive acceptance is a result of years of subtle revelation - the children are told nothing, and yet just enough so that when they do find out the truth, it's almost only a connect the dots moment, as opposed to the huge shock it should be. For the reader, the clues keep coming throughout the novel, and it takes an appropriate amount of time to work out what is going on, and by then you really care about them. The film, in comparison, rushes the finer details and ends up confusing.

    That being said, I agree about Andrew Garfield's performance, however I would say that he came into his own during the scene you mentioned - the slowly dawning realisation and loss of hope was for me extremely intense and moving, although I'd imagine this is because I was already attached to the characters.

    The book (and, I suppose, the film, in it's way) did raise an interesting question - how much a of blind eye would you be prepared to turn for the health of yourself or a loved one.