Never Let Me Go
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Never Let Me Go

One of the most alluring prospects human being is the concept of immortality. Your people will be considered of sound mind and body would want to die. Life is the ultimate object of covetousness, for without it you can truly have meaning for human being. Immortality has been the theme of countless works of fantasy and science fiction and it is also something that many branches of scientific inquiry and research are endeavoring to make real. If an advancement of significant impact is made on prolonging human life happens to conflict with a well-established moral precept that is almost certain that society will find some means to reevaluate those details morality. That is either not feasible or requires a prolonged the adjustments that inevitably illegal means to extend life will be found. The novel, ‘Never Let Me Go’ by Kazuo Ishiguro explores an alternate universe real life can be extended past the century mark by creating clones to serve as a repository of spare parts. Over the years there have been many movies made employing that theme but to 2010 movie version of the book by filmmaker, Mark Romanek, is by far the most poignant consideration theme I have ever encountered. He was such a degree of sensitivity and empathy that you cannot help it become deeply emotionally invested in the characters near predetermined lights. During its initial theatrical release it never managed to receive the attention it so richly deserved but thankfully it has a new chance to properly reach an audience the DVD and Blu-ray release. Recently there have been several television shows and films that have endeavored to explore the theme of extending lifespans to my mind wandered back to this film and how it deserved renewed consideration.

The film opens with the required exposition explaining to the audience in this alternate universe a major medical breakthrough was achieved in 1952 that would bring the human life expectancy over a century. The point of view of the film is provided by a 28-year-old woman, Kathy H (Carey Mulligan). The story is presented in three acts each of which covers a specific period of time in Kathy’s life. The first act of his youth, as portrayed by Izzy Meikle-Small, back in the late 1970s when she resided in a boarding school called Hailsham, along with her closest friends, Tommy (Charlie Rowe) and Ruth (Ella Purnell). After graduation they are encouraged to go into artistic pursuits the best the rich will be featured in a place referred to as ‘The Gallery’. It’s curated is a mysterious woman known only as Madame (Nathalie Richard). Back in school is very special times signified by the introduction of a new teacher, Miss Lucy (Sally Hawkins) who has the difficult but necessary task of informing her students the reality of their existence. They all clones created for the sole purpose of replenishing one out damaged organs. They will be ‘complete’ sometime in the early adulthood. That term is but a euphemism for the point when all these usable orders have been removed and they die. Revealing this to the children resulted in Miss Lucy being fired by the headmistress, despite the circumstances the students are still teenagers in relationships are inevitable. Kathy’s crush on Tommy turns into her falling in love with them but unfortunately he enters into a relationship with Ruth.

The second act begins around 1985 three friends; Kathy, Ruth (Keira Knightley) and Tommy (Andrew Garfield), are now teenagers central to live in colleges on a farm. They are given some latitude such as being able to leave the farm for excursions to the outside but they are required to return at the end of the day. At this time they also able to encounter other symbols close to the one they attended and as with theirs the all clones waiting to be disassembled. They hear about a rumor of something referred to as a ‘deferral’, a temporary reprieve granted to people who can prove that they are truly in love. Tommy becomes obsessed with the idea that the artwork sent to ‘The Gallery’ to be analyzed in order to analyze the ‘souls’ of the artists. He surmises that this is the right true law is determined. Around this time the relationship between Tommy and Ruth has grown more serious to become sexual in nature. Kathy can no longer suppress jealousy and a lifelong friendship with Ruth deteriorates. Kathy finds herself able to secure a reprieve becoming a ‘carer’, a vocation that has providing emotional support to clones wall about to begin the donation process. During this time Ruth and Tommy have a falling out and in the relationship. The third act takes place some 10 years later we Kathy is still employed as a ‘carer’. All exemption comes up quite an emotional cost as she has watched so many clones gradually die as they are subjected to each successive donation. This aspect of her job becomes exceptionally personal and she is reunited with Ruth who was greatly weakened after and enduring a couple of donations. She also finds a Tommy has suffered a similar fate. Ruth confesses to Kathy that she never really did love Tommy she just seduced and because of fear of being alone. Shortly afterwards Ruth is complete’.

Once again it bears noting that most of the major themes contained in the story not original, they have been examined in many other works of science fiction. One of the most important is whether or not clones possess a soul in which case they would have to be considered as human as the recipients that they died to keep alive. Such a decision would also mean that the process of donations is an exceptionally cool form of government sanctioned murder as the donor is forced to live for years as they are systematically disassembled to benefit someone society has deemed ‘human’. Differentiating this film from similar movies is sheer humanity of how the characters are treated by the author in the contrast to help the characters a viewed within the context of the story. There are the philosophical undertones of what constitutes a human being a clone created in the laboratory can be considered equal to human being brought into this world through conventional means. It is certain that the clones realize the true meaning of their existence and that they were brought into being the sole purpose of being slowly and systematically killed. There such an intense emotional impact of this film you should crushing your own humanity if you are not only touched by the story and by the incredible talent of the actors portraying the characters. There are those who the right this film is morbid and depressing admittedly there is much truth to these claims. It takes an independent filmmaker to be able to explore the darker aspects of life, stories that are important to tell you would never make it past studio executives. Not every story has to have a happy ending and indeed the last few moments of this film is certain to leave many in the audience in tears. This is quite a change for the director, Mark Romanek, whose last major film was in 2002, ‘One Hour Photo’, vehicle for the dramatic talents of the late Robin Williams, concerning obsession. Mr. Romanek’s body of work is mostly films related to the music industry including documentaries featuring; David Bowie, but Madonna and Michael Jackson. I sincerely hope that he considers taking a career path that leads into more films such as the one considered here.

bulletThe Secrets of Never Let Me Go
bulletDirector Mark Romanek's On-Set Photography
bulletTommy's Art
bulletNational Donor Programme * Hailsham Campaign Graphics

Posted 02/02/2016

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