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Never Let Me Go - the period of cosmography
Never Let Me Go
I am a big fan of Kazuo Ishiguro and his work. Watching a screen adaptation of his novels is always going to be a risk for me. Risk of being disappointed, risk of being annoyed. But of course I couldn’t resist the temptation to go see “Never let me go”, based on a book that I thought would be impossible to turn into a movie, not to speak of a good movie. I just was too curious to see how they would have gone about it and in which ways they would have failed. So, I went to the cinema without any preparation, not knowing who had directed or who the actors were.
I was surprised and astonished; surprised that the novel had been successfully adapted, astonished by how great a movie it had been turned into. It wouldn’t do to spoil the story for anyone who hasn’t read or seen it, so I won’t talk about it; also, it would be hardly necessary, because “the story” is not what makes Ishiguro's work great, nor this particular movie. There is no violence, no shouting and no hard language in “Never let me go”, and yet it is one of the most disturbing, most horrifying storytelling that I have ever come upon. One of the great accomplishments of the film is that it recreates that horror by means different from Ishiguro's in the novel, but his method would not have worked on the screen. Another is the way the poignancy of Ishiguro's narration is recreated visually by a combination of the production design, which constructs a world slightly odd and squalid, and the beautiful cinematography, that renders that world in beautiful soft and intense images. The careful exposure results in a very wide range of luminosity, and the extensive usage of a large aperture blurs the background into pools of rich colour, creating absorbing pictures very suggestive of the avid and quaint subjective tone of Ishiguro's first person narrative, which otherwise would be lost to the third person point of view of the camera. The acting is excellent, subdued but authentic. There is no question of realism here, because most of what happens and of how the characters seem to feel about it will strike the viewer as despairingly unrealistic if compared against our own reality, but it is acting that renders characters very faithfully in terms of the novel.
If you read and liked the novel, watch the movie, you will not be disappointed. If you plan to read it, watch the movie afterwards, because the development of the plot relies in part on your ignorance.
3 comments or Leave a comment
juggzy From: juggzy Date: April 17th, 2011 06:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'll probably end up seeing it on DVD - I remember being very taken with the book when it first came out.
joculum From: joculum Date: April 19th, 2011 09:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
The novel created so much commentary and the reviews of it contained so many spoilers that the secret was singularly ill-kept when I found myself watching the movie, which you have described beautifully.
anselmo_b From: anselmo_b Date: April 20th, 2011 08:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Of course you're right, it can't be much of a secret by now.
3 comments or Leave a comment