Friday, February 4, 2011

Year's best film-NEVER LET ME GO-on DVD!

Mid-September of last year, TrustMovies pegged the Mark Romanek/Alex Garland/Kasuo Ishiguro collaboration NEVER LET ME GO as "the best film of the year (so far)." Watching it again this week on DVD (it's on Blu-Ray, as well) only underscores that opinion. Yes, The Social Network is the best of the nominated films, but Never let Me Go is, by leaps and bounds, more unusual, moving and profound.  If you follow it carefully (it's a very quiet film), by the finale, you will sit in grieving silence for the human condition and for the inevitable "use" of the less powerful by those who possess the power.

The movie is not "political" in any overt manner, yet its conclusions are inescapable. And I suspect this is why so many of my friends found it too depressing. It's a sci-fi film, but one without special effects, interplanetary travel or even a car chase. Its "aliens" are just like you and me -- nice (or not so) folk brought up to be "good citizens" who are trying to lead their lives as best they can. The "other" captured on film has rarely seemed so normal. Sheep-like, perhaps, but does anyone remember how nearly all Americans jumped on the bandwagon of the Iraq war, despite the obvious lies it was built upon. We are sheep. Even now, see how many of us clamor not to have health care. Ah, but the intelligent, though confused, sheep you'll meet in Never Let Me Go will break your heart, while making you think of all those "outsiders" of history, from slaves (Black and otherwise) to Jews, gays and -- well, take your choice.

Oddly, the movie has been (and continues to be) marketed as a love story. It is that, but it is so much more. Well, marketing reigns. But those expecting any "normal" kind of love story may come away upset. You cannot watch these people for whom you grow to care so much and not be aware of what they stand for and how society has used them for "the greater good." And the actors -- Carey Mulligan (above, left, from An Education), Andrew Garfield (above, right, of The Social Network!) and Keira Knightley (above, center, and further above) -- could hardly be better.

While the film has received a number of good reviews, many of our cultural taste-makers have found it wanting in that special realm of "style." Yet Mr. Romanek's style is perfectly suited to the subject at hand, for he makes you observe and listen carefully. I am afraid some of our "better" critics cannot see the forest for the trees.

My original review of the film is here. Do not let this movie go by unseen. I almost  never use the word "classic" to describe a new film because only time has the ability to designate that. But I'll stake my reputation, such as it is, on this film's being discovered and re-discovered down generations. Decades from now, if life as we know it still exists, Never Let Me Go will seem oddly prescient -- for a sci-fi film set in the past. No wonder: It's our history.

You can find the film now for sale or rental at your local DVD outlet (except for Netflix and Redbox, that will get it in a few weeks time).

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