Film Review: Never Let Me Go
● By Wendy Sipple
Never Let Me Go could quite possibly be one of the most disturbing and depressing movies I have seen a long time. Masked in what feels and looks like a British love triangle romance movie, the subject matter is unnerving.
The story is set in Britain in an alternate universe where in the 1940s they discovered how to clone people and use their body parts to let the general population exceed over 100 years of age on average. We get to follow three children who live in a boarding school for clones. Everything within the school is tightly structured in an attempt to both keep the children physically healthy while suppressing their emotional centers. A love triangle forms between Tommy, Ruth and our main protagonist Kathy. Tommy and Ruth are a couple throughout their early years as Kathy yearns for Tommy. It isn’t until later they finally receive their chance to be together. But by this time the trio are at the age when they donate all their organs to what they call the “originals” until they “complete,” which is pc speak for death. In a desperate attempt for more time together Kathy and Tommy seek a deferral from the people in charge.
This movie disturbed me on many fronts. I was shocked by the “normal” people’s reactions to the clones when they came in contact. I was floored by the teachers at the boarding school and how they called the clones “creatures” and how they controlled and handled the children. I was particularly disturbed by how the clones interacted and discussed their fate amongst themselves. They all seemed to accept their fate with almost no fight. It was chilling to see scenes of these "people" discussing “donating” their bodies in such a dry and flat way.
Kathy, the lead character, later becomes a Carer, someone who visits the terminally ill clones who are about to donate for the last time. She remarks that she’s proud that she does her job well as none of her subjects resist or seem stressed. It came across very spooky how calm she was about seeing her friends off to die. They also show the surgeons removing the parts and leaving the body with little regard, as the clones have no families and seemingly no friends. It was spooky.
The movie’s production values were well executed and had top notch talent associated with it. The performances were somewhat flat, but I know that is how these characters were supposed to come across, so I will leave that alone. In fact how dry and unaffected they seemed with the horror of their lives was creepier than most horror movies for me, so in that regard their performances were spot on. The subtlety the subject matter was handled in was what creeped me out the most which made this movie far more frightening than any gore slasher movie that has been released.
In the end Never Let Me Go attempts to be a love story in the bleakest of environments, and I am unsure if they achieved that. I was so unnerved at the callousness of humankind they present in the movie to be too invested in this one relationship. The end result is a well executed depressing movie that showed what human kind could be at its worst. If this sounds like your sort of thing, then I doubt you could find better than Never Let Me Go.
FILMS LIKE NEVER LET ME GO: Requiem For A Dream and Winter’s Bone
Justin Buettner is Style's resident movie dude! How did he get this role? Well, he graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a Bachelor of Arts in film Production and a duel minor in Animation and Business with an emphasis in the entertainment field. He later went on to work on several independent films in various key roles including writer and later worked in the special effects field as a motion capture artist. He has since relocated to the Sacramento area with his family and continues writing for small independent films in addition to his movie reviews for Style Magazine.