Never Let Me Go it's one of those adaptations that uses great technical execution in order to cover it's flaws in story's narration. The story revolves around this love and friendship triangle between Kathy (Carey Mulligan), Tommy (Andrew Garfield) and Ruth (Keira Knightley) formed while spending their childhood inside an english boarding school, that would keep the children away from their freedom in order to make them unaware of the true living outside the "fence". That way, by living in a proper environment, they were being prepared for the worst to come. They will never could have gotten the chance to live fully and experience life at it's fullest because they were raised as donors. After 18, in just a few years they were already "programmed" to donate their vital organs which would also bring them "closer" to death. Inside this school, the love triangle flourished and continued through years to come till the moment they would face the truth. While Tommy represents the marginalized, Kathy was the girl that always had true strong feelings for Tommy, always understood him in his own weirdness and always appreciated him and cared for him. However, Ruth, had find a way to "catch" Tommy into her net and formed for a very long time a couple. Things get a little bit complicated when they are being transferred from their school to "The Cottages", a place like a small village where all donors would have to wait for their time. Kathy had the chance to apply for being a carer and provide support for some of the donors. In time, all three of them somehow find out about a way of postpone with even a few years their moment of donation. The condition was that a boy and a girl would form a couple and really love each other. That way they would receive more time to spend together before their eventual deaths. The result? Well, the story obviously deals with strong issues, feelings and drama but the movie doesn't deliver much of that.
The characters were also pretty poor written because you seem to not really care for anyone because there's no chemistry there... It's all blank and pointless. The acting looked much much better in the trailer, it looked more emotional and intense but it is definitely not the case. Keira Knightley (Ruth), thanks to the poor writing doesn't have too much to work with, Andrew Garfield as Tommy is a pretty much a silent character and I can't feel anything for him because there's a big lack of delivery. I'm not saying the performance was poor but it definitely was average. The real problem comes from Mulligan's portrayal of Kathy. Mulligan did a good job, definitely the best in the movie. You may ask, "well Julian then what's the problem?" and I will gladly answer you. It's boring. The acting itself isn't boring because it's pretty good, but the character is the same character Carey Mulligan usually plays. She picks roles that are too similar and what's wrong with that is that even if she gives a very good performance the audience will feel awkward and even deceived since they already saw that in at least 2 or 3 movies before. She is very talented in dealing with powerful emotions and she does a great job showing the fight within her and her inside pain but once you repeat that too many times in a small period of time people will get bored.
Besides the narrative slow evolution of the story, the poor written characters and the lack of versatility in casting the actors, there are good things that need to be pointed out. The technical execution of this movie was great. The cinematography was very good, the predominant brown color used in the movie fitted the atmosphere (in the small amount that it was) and the contrast was perfect. It reminded me of Atonement or An Education. The soundtrack was also good but it became pointless at times.
While the movie deals with love and selfishness, with spiritual and sexual evolution, with life and death, it fails in deliver all these elements. Everything looks like reading a dramatic news in the local newspaper. You will read it, think about it few seconds then move to next page. The same is with this movie. It looks good but it could have been much more than what it is.
Art Direction: 8,5/10.