Never Let Me Go (Blu-ray)
The idea of cloning humans is something that today’s generation is eventually going to have to deal with. When the time comes, it won’t just be a question of science, but a question of morals, religion and ethics and no one will have the right answer. Cloning is a subject that can keep people debating for years and the more it’s discussed, the more ideas and moral implications a person can find in the subject. So it’s disappointing that NEVER LET ME GO managed to stumble past the moral questions of cloning and instead focus on a trite love triangle that was never as engaging as it needed to be.
Ruth (Keira Knightley), Kathy (Carey Mulligan) and Tommy (Andrew Garfield) are kids growing up in a foster home of sorts whose lives are intertwined by the love they have for one another. Kathy and Tommy are clearly in love at a very early age, but the jealous Ruth swoops in and starts a relationship with Tommy, leaving Kathy the outcast. We don’t learn who/what these children really are until about a third of the way through when a rogue teacher tells them that their sole purpose in life is to grow up and donate their organs. In other words, they are clones that are farmed for their organs.
So immediately, we touch on an insanely sensitive subject; do clones have souls? Are they capable of loving, feeling and living the way others are? But the movie doesn’t ask these questions, it merely tells the story of three clones and their lives together. As the kids grow up, Ruth and Tommy go on to “completion” (donating organs until death) while Kathy becomes a “carer” (one who cares for the clones as they die). And the love triangle persists throughout, but the problem with the love story is that it’s secondary to the larger questions that never seem to get asked. The love story’s effectiveness varies as the movie progresses, but overall director Mark Romanek does a decent job of keeping a very melancholic tone to the film. We truly feel Kathy’s pain as she sacrifices her personal happiness in order to avoid conflict with Ruth.
There’s a brief moment when Kathy and Tommy return to their former teacher and ask about the art they did as kids. The teacher responds that they were basically looking to see if they had souls. This was a great moment that I would have liked to see expanded on. These people are clones and they never question their existence or their purpose. They seem content on willingly donating their organs. Had anyone ever tried to escape? What agency is controlling the clones? How are they being tracked? I know that covering some of those questions puts you into science-fiction territory, but the rules in this world weren’t clear. I never understood how the clones and originals lived together and what governs their existence.
But defenders of the film will point out that this is more of a love story than it is a science fiction film. I understand that, but when your love story is based in a world of farm-raised clones, we need guidelines. It also didn’t help that Ruth was such a despicable character and when one third of your trio is someone that seemingly has no redeemable qualities, it’s hard to get on board with the rest of the film.
Video: I don’t think there was one bright color in the entire film, but the various shades of gray came through nicely.
Audio: This is a dialogue heavy film, but it sounds crystal clear.
The Secrets of Never Let Me Go (30:09): This is a surprisingly thorough making-of featurette that talks to all the main actors and filmmakers. We got a lot of behind the scenes looks and it was nice hearing a former music video director talk about making a dreary film like this.
There’s also a Photo Gallery and some Previews