Never Let Me Go, says London
The 54th BFI London Film Festival (October 13-28) kicked off in style with packed screenings of Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go [+see also:
interview: Domhnall Gleeson
film profile], which enjoyed its European premiere in the city’s iconic Leicester Square.
As has become customary, alongside the Festival screening with the red carpets and paparazzi, there was also a screening for BAFTA members with a shrewd eye on the upcoming nominations, as the film is certainly a contender in all the major categories. Based on Japanese born British writer Kazuo Ishiguro’s eponymous Booker-nominated novel adapted by Alex Garland (Sunshine [+see also:
interview: Danny Boyle
film profile]), the film is a haunting dirge that combines the best elements of a quintessential English period drama with rather more sinister science fiction themes.
The theme of clones who exist solely to be organ donors for ailing humans may seem an unlikely one to be set in a land of stately homes and windswept beaches, but the Romanek/Garland/Ishiguro combine manage this superbly, wisely keeping the sci-fi as an alluded backdrop and concentrating on the human element.
At the Q&A, the American Romanek said that he never felt like an outsider, despite the film being archetypal British, as he has studied and lived in the UK. Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield interpret their characters in superlative manner.
Mulligan was attracted to the part because her character is the often-silent observer who moves the film forward. For Knightley, the unsympathetic nature of her character made it attractive. When asked why the characters do not try and flee their fate, Ishiguro retorted that he wasn’t interested in escape stories that had been done to death in the movies, but rather characters trapped in a particular situation and how they react.
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