DRAMA; 1hr 45min
STARRING: Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield
Made to order: from left, Mulligan, Knightley and Garfield
Watching this progressively disturbing film, it occurs to you that there’s something off about Hailsham House, a postcard-picturesque English boarding school whose boys and girls are monitored like prize biological specimens. In fact, that’s exactly what they are: a 1952 cloning breakthrough has prolonged life to 100-plus years and when they turn 18, the hermetically protected Hailsham children will be donating their organs to the needy. Ruth (Knightley), Kathy (Mulligan) and Tommy (Garfield) are three of these doomed individuals. After leaving the school, the trio go their separate ways, yet their entwined stories of thwarted love and lives cut brutally short are by no means over.
Knightley, Mulligan and Garfield share the same quiet melancholy that permeates screenwriter Alex Garland’s adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2005 novel, directed by One Hour Photo’s Mark Romanek. Never Let Me Go is set in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, but its sci-fi premise has the unearthly feel of fairy-tales and myths, with the muted beauty of Romanek’s sunless landscapes and the contemplative impact of the performances turning the horrific into a meditation on humanity, mortality and surrender.