Never Let Me Go

SPOILERS!  If you haven’t read Never Let Me Go, or want to see the film, be forewarned…

On Thursday night I was privileged to be among the audience for a preview showing of Never Let Me Go at the Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds, part of the Leeds International Film Festival 2010.  Based on the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro (pipped to the Booker in 2005 by John Banville’s tedious The Sea) and directed by Mark Romanek, the film isn’t on general release until the new year, but following its UK premiere at the London festival in October it was showing twice at LIFF10.  As someone who’d read the book and kept tabs on the film’s progress, my expectations ran high.  That they were mostly met and occasionally exceeded is an indicator of how much I enjoyed it.

Enjoyed is perhaps the wrong word for a piece of delicately understated tragedy.  The horrific truths of Ishiguro’s dystopian fictive space lie just under the surface.  The narrative arc of the film is a process of splintering the artifice that masks this truth from the audience, cracking it slowly but surely to reveal the discomfiting facts that lie beneath. (more…)