Sci-fi has become a by-word for spaceships, galactic battles and funny-looking aliens. It is important to remember that some science fiction is just a careful interpretation of the world that we live in, but with some changes to the science and medicine that we know and use. Philip K. Dick often wrote about such worlds, and there is definitely an influence of his throughout British science fiction drama Never Let Me Go.
Set in a dystopian version of our history, the film follows the lives of Kathy (Carey Mulligan), Ruth (Keira Knightley) and Tommy (Andrew Garfield) through Hailsham boarding school and into young adulthood. Relationships are formed and broken as their lives converge and separate over the course of twenty years. Unlike other dramas there is an emphasis on their roles in this alternative society, and without spoiling the twists, all is not as it seems.
Shot in a similar, realistic fashion as previous Brit-starring sci-fi drama Children of Men, Never Let Me Go does not portray life as glossily as most Hollywood dramas, but rather as a thing of colour-sapped indifference. The camera lingers on important hints and clues as to the resolution of the story, whilst showing the social naivety and ineptitude of three people removed from the society of which their play such an important part.
All of Never Let Me Go‘s action involves one of the three main characters, and whilst Garfield and Knightley are both impressive in their roles, it is Mulligan who excels as Kathy. She is inexperienced and unsure how to deal with her feelings and emotions, but with that she brings a solid, unshakable lead that is both believable and engrossing. It is easy to see why Hollywood is falling over itself to get her attached to more and more projects and the future is bright for the British star.
With a dramatic setting, an intriguing story and some heart-breakingly poignant scenes between the leads, Never Let Me Go is one of the most interesting films in recent years, and whilst some of the middle portion drags a little the ending is intelligent, unassuming and heart-breaking. This film treads into uncomfortable ground with a sure foot and immaculate casting that entices the audience into staying with it to the bitter end.