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Customer Review

on February 14, 2011
Never Let Me Go is a movie based on a novel by one of my favourite authors, Kazuo Ishiguro.

The plot focuses on three characters: Kathy, Ruth and Tommy, who become entangled in a love triangle. It has the usual themes of love, jealousy and betrayal, but what is different about this particular story is that the central characters are "clones" which have been created and raised solely to provide donor organs to transplants. The film chronicles phases in the lives of the main characters.

I must challenge some of the points made in other reviews. Firstly, this is not a science fiction movie. Indeed, the director, Mark Romanek, said that he did not make Never Let Me Go a science fiction film; instead he was doing a love story with fictional science context mixed into the story. He goes on to describe it as a "love story where the science fiction is this subtle patina on the story."

Secondly, some reviewers question why the central characters - the "donors" - passively accept their fate and not rebel and run away. Romanek explains that this is not the story the author wanted to write. The story is essentially about behaviour and acceptance and examples given are where people stay in marriages that are abusive or unhappy or people stay in jobs that they don't find fulfilling. Another example is how people who have terminal illnesses don't suddenly go on a world cruise or bungee jump off a bridge, they usually stay in their routines. Arguably the fundamental reason may be because Mr Ishiguro was born in Japan and in Japanese culture it's considered heroic to perform one's service to the greater good of society.

Finally some reviewers appear to be disappointed because there is no action. This is a movie based on a Kazuo Ishiguro novel. Those familiar with this wonderful author's work will know that he doesn't write action-packed novels. His stories are clevery crafted, gentle tales where the truth of the matter is made clear only gradually, via a veiled but suggestive language. His earlier works, The Remains of the Day and A Pale View of the Hills, are perfect examples of this.

Turning to the movie itself, for me it worked at every level. The performances are outstanding and the director skilfully adheres to the restrained tone of the book avoiding anything that could be considered over-dramatic. The film engages you from the first frame and by the end you know you've seen something special. It's a moving, powerful tale that will stay with you long after you have finished the movie. I must also praise the music score by Rachel Portman which perfectly complements the film. Never Let Me Go is a haunting, beautiful film that has entered my list of top ten movies of all time.
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3.9 out of 5 stars