The We Can't Wait series nears it's end with an adaptation of a book about events shrouded in mystery; just like the film itself...
Never Let Me Go
Directed by: Mark Romanek
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, Andrew Garfield, Sally Hawkins, Charlotte Rampling, Andrea Riseborough
Synopsis: A woman reflects on her mysterious years at a private boarding school as she reunites with two friends scarred by those days.
Brought to you by: Film4 and Fox Searchlight Pictures
Expected release date: TBA
Dave: In a moment of unintentional foresight, I actually read 'Never Let Me Go' before I knew anything about it being turned into a film; it's a superb book, taking the reader to surprising, uncomfortable and devastating places, with a sci-fi aspect that never really registers as such because it's treated in so downtrodden and normalised a way. I'm not sure I thought it was a particularly cinematic novel but I also don't see why it can't work; the prose is fairly straightforward, so all that really needs doing is retaining the gripping way the mystery of the whole thing unfolds. I'm intrigued to see what Mark Romanek does visually; One Hour Photo was a solid enough film but I'd hope for at least a little bit of an infusion of his music video days, at least to liven up what could be a rote imagining of the boarding school of the first third.
But let's not fool ourselves; it's the cast here that we're all getting glinty eyes over. It might be Carey Mulligan's first big project post-breakthrough, but my eye goes straight to Andrew Garfield on the credits; although between this, Red Riding and his blindingly good performance in Boy A it's a wonder the boy can crack a smile any more. Then there's people like Keira Knightley and Charlotte Rampling hanging around too. A possible acting masterclass? Is Romanek the man to really coax greatness out of these actors?
JA: If he could coax greatness out of Robin Williams - and I think he was pretty dang great in OHP - I don't foresee him having much trouble with these lovely folks here, Dave.
I'm about as much in love with Ishiguro's book as I am with anything written in the past ten years though, so I ought to be terrified about an adaptation. But I ain't. I ain't at all! Mulligan, Garfield, Rampling, Sally Hawkins, Andrea Riseborough - just saw her on stage with Hugh Dancy and Ben Whishaw a couple of months ago in The Pride and she's become a pet project of mine to trumpet her name whenever given the chance, and she's got a good role here as Miss Lucy - and begrudgingly Knightley, who I loved in Pride & Prejudice and... I'll leave it at that.
Craig: Yes, the cast. I'm excited to see Rampling, Garfield and Hawkins here - and Mulligan has shown she can do boarding school cool already. Although with the exception of Keira Knightley, who hasn't completely convinced me in any film yet. But this one - along with her role in Cronenberg's new one - might see her expand a bit from the corsets and pirate girl area and she may surprise me. Though whenever they say Knightley, I say Rosamund Pike. She might have been a good choice here, though isn't she slightly older than the other two principle cast members? And would that matter? But yes, Jason, Andrea Riseborough - she was great in Happy-Go-Lucky (could she be the secret surprise here?).
Jose: Without knowing what the book was about, this film adaptation got my attention only by the cast (this could be the year of the great female ensembles). Keira, Carey and Sally all had wonderful breakthrough roles in the past decade and are some of the most fascinating actresses out there. I hope they will continue to prove their worth here, if not there's always the brilliance of Charlotte Rampling who can do no wrong.
Craig: Mark Romenek is such an interesting choice for director too. I'll echo the thoughts about One Hour Photo being quite the nifty film, and he's got the style factor sorted.
Jose: I'm sure Romanek will bring an interesting visual conception to the project; his One Hour Photo was clinically beautiful to watch and for a man who has confessed he wanted to become a director because of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the sci-fi angle of this tale sounds like bliss. I hope he gets inspired by his work on Madonna's Rain for this...
Craig: I never got to reading the book (mainly due to the ending being spoiled for me, darn it), so I feel I've missed out on a great piece of fiction here. I'll have to leap into this film version in the hope that it'll have a few surprises in store, which, by the sounds of it, it will have. I'm a sucker for downtempo sci-fi and everything all together does actually sound as if it could make for an extraordinary and fresh approach.
JA: I adore this book. If they can capture one tenth of the beauty and sadness therein, this will be something very very special to me.
Dave: There's a great weight of expectation there. I think that the fact, beyond the novel and the cast, this is another film we know very little about just makes the anticipation of it greater, because we just don't know. It's another film that looks so very promising on paper, but who can know if it will deliver? The fact that Fox Searchlight are on-board for American distribution suggests they've seen something of worth, though.
Are you excited, readers? Do you trust in Romanek, Carey and Keira? Or did you never want to let go of the book and let it up on that screen?
"We Can't Wait: Summer and Beyond" complete series: The "orphan" picks Nathaniel (Burlesque), JA (Love and Other Drugs), Jose (You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger), Craig (What's Wrong With Virginia?), Robert (True Grit) and Dave (Brighton Rock); Team Film Experience Countdown #12 It's Kind of a Funny Story, #11 Sex & the City 2, #10 Scott Pilgrim vs the World, #9 Somewhere, #8 The Kids Are All Right, #7 The Illusionist, #6 Toy Story 3, #5 Inception, #4 Rabbit Hole, #3 Never Let Me Go, #2 Black Swan and #1 The Tree of Life.