Never Let Me Go (2010, Mark Romanek)

A wacky new alternate-history sci-fi film from the writer of Saddest Music in the World. No, not really – it’s a new lovingly-crafted drama about repressed love from the writer of Remains of the Day. I was surprised to see Kazuo Ishiguro credited for Saddest Music – his original screenplay is unpublished, but I found a Maddin quote, calling the source a political satire, “a story about how Third World countries can survive only by losing all their dignity, or keep their dignity by panhandling in a very clever way.”

Mark One Hour Photo Romanek directs with sunlit fatalism. The kids at boarding school come to realize that they’ve been bred for organ-harvesting a la Parts: The Clonus Horror, but instead of public exposure and revolution, the most they hope to attain is a couple extra years with the clone they love before their fatal surgeries. Politically (because all sci-fi is political) it seems like an “every life has a soul” message, examining the consequence of creating life in a lab to help current humanity without considering that new life’s own worth.

Keira Knightley mostly plays the cool and collected one, but gets to try on some of the histrionics she’d perfect in A Dangerous Method. Carey Mulligan (less deadly-cute than in Drive) is so in love with Andrew Garfield (least interesting cast member of both Social Network and Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus) that for a while it seems like they’ll find a way out. Charlotte Rampling (the awful, awful mother in Melancholia) keeps the kids in place, and Sally Hawkins (same year as Submarine) fails to bring enlightenment and rip the system.