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Never Let Me Go (2010) Blu Ray

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As children Ruth Kathy and Tommy spend their childhood at a seemingly idyllic English boarding school. As they grow into young adults they find that they have to come to terms with the strength of the love they feel for each other while preparing themselves for the haunting reality that awaits them.

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Director Mark Romanek (ONE HOUR PHOTO) and writer Alex Garland (28 DAYS LATER) team up to adaptation REMAINS OF THE DAY author Kazuo Ishiguro&39;s introspective sci-fi novel about a group of unsuspecting boarding-school students who make a horrifying discovery about themselves

Writer Alex Garland adapts Kazuo Ishiguro's novel for the big screen with this fantasy drama directed by Mark Romanek. Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield star respectively as Kathy, Ruth and Tommy, three childhood friends who reunite as adults to look back on their days at Hailsham, a seemingly idyllic but markedly offbeat boarding school in rural England. As the former classmates journey into their shared past, painful memories of love, jealousy and betrayal are brought to the surface, and the sinister secret at the heart of their unusual upbringing is finally revealed.

  • Average Rating for Never Let Me Go (2010) [Blu-ray] - 4 out of 5

    (based on 1 user reviews)
  • Never Let Me Go (2010) [Blu-ray]
    Barnaby Walter

    Kazuo Ishiguro's 2005 Booker-nominated novel Never Let Me Go is a troubling masterpiece, with the power to haunt the reader long after the last page is turned. This glossy film adaptation, with One Hour Photo director Mark Romanek at the helm, doesn't have the same level of painful profundity of its source material but is still nevertheless an admirable effort.

    Set in a dystopian twentieth century England, the first third of the film is set in a picturesque children's boarding school called Hailsham. The children who attend Hailsham are special, and although the reason for this takes the form of a heartbreaking twist in the novel, here it is revealed within the first fifteen minutes. The reason for their existing is cold, clinical and unforgiving. They are not 'real' humans, and are not seen as normal people by society. They are clones, and serve one purpose in life: to donate organs to the ill. They will not reach middle-age, and will have 'completed' their donations when they are still young men and women.

    Within this school for the doomed we are introduced to three key students - Kathy, Tommy and Ruth. Kathy is reflective, calm and kind. Tommy is awkward and doesn't fit in with the other boys. Ruth is a bit of a bitch, and when they hit puberty she purposefully starts up a relationship with Tommy because she knows Cathy secretly likes him. When the three of them have grown up, and have moved out of the school into cottage accommodation, she still quietly taunts her would-be-friend with the fact that she is sleeping with Tommy while Cathy is still without any romantic attachment. "The thing is, Tommy just doesn't see you in that way" she whispers to Cathy one night. It is ambiguous whether her words are meant in comfort or spite, but Cathy's reaction to it is devastating, as she sits on her bed with a tear rolling down her face. However, although this may seem like normal-teenage relationship drama, their friendships and sex lives are far more important than humdrum movie-romance. There is a terrible sense of pointlessness about their relationships with each other due to the bleakness of their situation.

    The final part of the film is a harrowing experience, and looks at how these 'people' end their lives on a kind of social conveyor belt; never truly becoming part of society, just waiting to donate their next organ or be given notice as to when their donations will begin. Deliberate or not, the images of these thinning, weak and gaunt looking people, who have had their individuality and sense of self ripped away from them, both physically and psychologically, evokes the treatment of the prisoners in Nazi concentration camps. Horrifying, but never gratuitous or sensational, this part of the film is subtle and distressing.

    Although the treatment of the subject matter may be commendable, the film is far from a resounding success. As is the case with a number of movies that have three clear acts, the overall impression is of an episodic, fragmented and slightly patchy story rather than the panorama of beauty and emotion that made Ishiguro's novel so magnificent. As a film separate from the text, taken as an entity in its own artistic right, it works better although feels somewhat divorced from the audience in its cold inability to truly make us part of this cruel world we are invited to inhabit for its 100 minute running-time. Maybe that is the point, and we are meant to feel like privileged outsiders who do not have to face the complicated ethics of this strange alternative world. This is all very well, but it doesn't easily ingratiate itself with the viewer, considering how much it asks from them in the last emotionally draining act of the story.

    Many critics have noted the clear lack of rebellion present amongst the unfortunate donors. The characters never expect times to change in their favour, and they never seek to change them themselves. The possibility of delaying their plight does arise, and although they desperately wish it to become a reality, there is never a 'fight the system' mentality or a compulsion to flee the life that has been laid out for them. This, for me, is one of the most remarkable aspects of the story, as it presents an interesting look at the acceptance of death, and how these young people try to make sense of their lives in such a short space of time.

    The central three, when they are in the stages of young adulthood, are played by some of Britain's best young actors. Carrey Mulligan has been one of my favourite actresses for a long time, and her performance as Cathy is her most mature to date. Keira Knightley, who takes the supporting role as Ruth, is an interesting casting decision, but the gamble pays off, allowing her to deliver an icy but vulnerable turn. British-American actor Andrew Garfield, recently seen in David Fincher's Facebook movie The Social Network, is excellent as Tommy, but unfortunately the role comes across as underwritten and incidental until the final half-hour of the film.

    Never Let Me Go is an easy film to be cynical about. It may not go for the cheap emotional manipulation terrible sob-pictures like The Notebook have used to pull in audiences, but it does deal with an emotive and controversial topic and threatens to bring about tears while doing so. Some viewers may revolt against being asked to sit through a film which asks such difficult questions of them. Others may be put off by the lack of suspense, as we are given a taste of how the film will end in a prologue at the start. It may not work entirely, and many will disagree on its merits, but for me the film felt like a brief glimpse at the potential masterpiece it could have been.

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