On film, Kazuo Ishiguro’s agonising existential allegory, in which three school friends (Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield and Keira Knightley) are raised in a quietly horrifying alternate reality, becomes a melancholic master class in restraint, both profound and profoundly moving. Material this fragile could have broken in less sensitive hands than those of screenwriter Alex Garland – wisely repressing his love of science fiction, despite the nature of the material – and, particularly, Mark Romanek. In another universe, Never Let Me Go might have won Oscars for its script, cinematography, music, direction, and a triumvirate of exquisite performances from two of the finest actors of their generation, and Keira Knightley. It is difficult to imagine a more perfectly realised adaptation of a popular novel, joining the short list of compelling arguments for film’s ability to translate literature into lyricism via the medium of film.
EXTRAS: A well-made half-hour ‘making of’ delves deeply into how the filmmakers approached such delicate material, and there’s a Gallery of Tommy’s art and a montage of Romanek’s on-set photographs, each with isolated excerpts of Rachel Portman’s haunting music. Not bad, but this film is crying out for commentaries.