Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Yes, No, Maybe So: Never Let Me Go

I guess June is when the OscarBait trailers begin their stampede? I always forget summertime occurences as I have already melted. I hate summer. Yesterday we performed our patented three pronged expectation-management on Somewhere. Today Mark Romanek's adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro's best seller Never Let Me Go.



You might not want to read this if you're worried about subject/thematic spoilers. I still need to read the book but I feel like this would have been great to go into blind. I'm glad that the trailer is hinting rather than telling, as all trailers should.

The cast is a big draw: Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, Keira Knightley, Sally Hawkins (looks like a good part), Charlotte Rampling... it just keeps on giving people that are a) fine actors and b) interesting to look at in one way or another. And they're all in the service of sober non-f/x driven sci-fi which is all too rare at the movies. [SPOILER] This one has to do with a school for clones though this trailer doesn't make that too specific. [/SPOILER] The last such sci-fi flick that comes to mind was Children of Men and those three words strung together should prompt fine cinematic memories.

This is an entirely personal thing. I don't tend to respond well to bifurcated structures where we get used to one actor playing a role and have to switch to another or switch back and forth. I like it when movies cover a short frame of time in their character's lives. Movies are most equatable with short stories, if you ask me. The television miniseries is the ideal home for novel adaptations but nobody in Hollywood agrees with this assessment. That said, that's the only "no" I could come up with which is a great sign. And those young girls do seem well cast to evoke Mulligan & Knightley.

Blade Runner (1982) is one of the greats and when an image like the one to your left explicitly calls it mind, it's both exciting and worrying. It seems likely that the movie will similarly examine entirely human concerns about the purpose of life, the mystery of the soul, and the fear of death through the distancing protection of a genre lens. Can Mark Romanek do all this justice? He's got a great eye and makes absolutely incredible music videos. But I didn't get much apart from aesthetic value from his previous feature, One Hour Photo. There's so much rich thematic possibility here: Do I have a soul? Is my life not even mine? Will loving someone save me? There's not enough time. All these moments will be lost like tears in the rain.

In short, I'm a yes. But I do think I should read the book first since it's supposed to be incredible. I'd rather know the real thing before experiencing its copy, even though the copy looks to have plenty of soul.

You?
*

38 comments:

Pat said...

Read the book! It's excellent! I actually picked it up because Julianne Moore recommended it in Entertainment Weekly when it first came out, lol.
The plot outlines for the movie do spoil things, especially since much of the novel's power comes from how subtly Ishiguro reveals things...but the trailer does give away TOO much...and it looks like they got things right!

Anonymous said...

Read the book. It's heartbreaking and absolutely fantastic, as is most of Ishiguro's work.

Andrew R. said...

Note to self: Read the book.

I'm a yes, although the trailer does not make the whole *SPOILER* clone thing *END SPOILER* very clear.

Anonymous said...

Pat, that's my problem with this trailer. Ishiguro was so good at giving us little pieces at a time instead of saying explicitly in chapter one what these kids are. I feel the trailers shouldn't be revealing much more than a book jacket does.

Ryan T. said...

I'm a HELL YEAH. Maybe it's because this summer has been SO SO SO underwhelming in terms of big blockbuster movies, but I'm really gobbling every and any trailers from these "prestige films" due later this fall.

The last such sci-fi flick that comes to mind was Children of Men and those three words strung together should prompt fine cinematic memories.

It also prompts anger and disappointment at the various award shows that snubbed it. SIGH.

Terence said...

Trailer looks interesting, and even though I hate when trailers give everything away, I actually feel like its a good thing that they mentioned the [insert spoiler here] because otherwise this trailer would have seemed like another advertisement for a weepy prestige piece.

The film looks very pretty and I'm excited to see Knightley in something not involving pirates

adelutza said...

I have read the book and ever since I've been recommending it to everybody. I loved it and if the film is even half as good I'll be content.

Marsha Mason said...

Along with The Road and Atonement, Never Let Me Go is among my favorite recent books to be turned into a movie.

I do worry that it'll suffer from Atonement syndrome, i.e. they'll go totally Oscar-y, indulging in visual indulgence, but mostly miss what's between the lines. Not that ole Marsha would know how to get what's beautifully expressed by what the novel's narrator doesn't say and doesn't know onto the screen -- I doubt that's even possible, but it would be a miraculous thing if they made it happen.

ShoNuff Lives said...

hells yes.

the book was so beautiful, so haunting, and utterly heartbreaking. if the film version does nothing but capture the gorgeously constructed melancholy, it will be a success for me. anything else is gravy.

Michael Parsons said...

I felt the book let us know fairly quickly that something was up, ad that these children were not normal children. The trailer does give a little away, but only hints at the emotional impact, which I am sure Mulligan can carry off.
However, trailers have a way at selling a small part of a story as the main plot point - so here is hoping it is not another 'youths in love' story.

Timothy said...

The novel is exquisite. Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan both have strong potential Oscar-bait on their hands if this is done well. And then there's Andrew Garfield, who has the most sympathetic part in the novel as Tommy. Can't wait to see the film come out and more importantly how it's received by the public. I'm afraid mass audiences won't "get it." But what can you do with that really? I can't watch the trailer right now at work, but I will tonight!

Mirko S. said...

Nominations number 2 for Carey and my beloved Keira? Who knows, but I would be glad about it...anyway I agree that this could be a great occasion for Andrew Garfield (RED RIDING, RED RIDING, RED RIDING...I know he made also other things, still...RED RIDING, RED RIDING, RED RIDING)

Read the novel! Possibly before everybody will spoil it!!!

par3182 said...

just yes - no no, no maybe

James T said...

The trailer didn't change my mind - I was a maybe so from the moment I finished the book. I could be a powerful film or a beautiful, sentimental, shallow one.


And, I know the world is in love with the lovely Mulligan at the moment but I really liked what Keira showed in the trailer. I hope everyone is great.

Lara said...

After hearing recommendations left and right I read the book about two years ago and was underwhelmed by both writing and story. Maybe my expectations were built up too high, I don't know. And since I'm not nearly as enamoured with neither Carey nor Keira (I like them ok) this film is a no for me.

Danielle said...

I highly recommend reading the novel first, especially if you know the spoiler anyway. The novel is completely in the voice of Kathy, and I think that's what the movie will lose most - the narrative voice that Ishiguro writes so well. You sympathize with Kathy's plight, but you also find yourself very frustrated at her unquestioning attitude.

I think, though, the movie will be very good, as long as they maintain the otherworldly, eerie, something's-not-quite-right atmosphere of the novel. And yes - my girl Keira is doing something totally different and I hope she nails it.

Ben said...

Saw a test screening months ago of this and aside from the temp score (that they EMPHATICALLY told us was not the final music), it seemed pretty finished, and it's undeniably moving. And the child actors I remember being really quite good (especially young Carey). With so much time to polish the thing, I'm excited to see the final iteration of it.

lylee2 said...

Hell yes from me, too. I've been wanting to see this ever since I heard it was being made.

The book is great, but I wonder if reception of the movie will suffer from there being no OMG "twist"? I mean, there's sort of a turn at the very end, but it's fairly quiet. As for the major reveal - i.e., who these characters really are - happens kind of gradually, it's not like it's supposed to come as a shock.

Deivith Coast said...

I´m a yes. No, not a yes; a YES!!!

I think Mulligan, Garfield and Knightley are perfectly casted, I can´t imagine a better choice for each character. In terms of casting my only problem is Rampling, she has never worked for me, there is something in her face... I would prefer Julie Christie, or if we have to be Frenchphile, Huppert or Deneuve. But the three protagonists are so perfect for the film!! And those three characters are absolute candy for an actor, all of them really complex, we can understand them and their problems so well, I love the three of them so much!! And I would love the three actors doing very good, because they can and they would deserve Oscar attention if they are great in the film, and if the film is great.

That´s my only problem. I really loved the book and, as people have said, how Ishiguro reveals things subtly, creating intrigue and making the interest and the obssession with the story grow in the reader. And I don´t know how well is Romanek going to do that (I love him as a music director and I liked his first thing). The trailer, though in general I´ve liked it, reveals too much and makes the movie look too conventional, and I´m worried about what Nathaniel has said in the "maybe so": will the movie treat everything that is worth to be treated (and once you read the book you know it, when you finish with that strange, fascinating sensation)? and will it treat those things well? I really hope so, because it can be such a fantastic movie!!!

( I also have a personal problem with your "no", Nathaniel, and when I read the book I thought "No! There will have to be three children doing the parts of Mulligan, Garfield and Knightley!")

And with the Atonement syndrome...I totally disagree. I read the book before going to the movie and I thought the movie was just like it had to be and even better. I think they focus on what they have to tell us in a very intelligent way, thanks to a great editing, amazing, subtle performances, the great idea of the music, an intelligent script...To me it was heartbreaking, just as the book, but maybe better, because visually they told us so many things that completed the reading. And it´s not Oscary, I think that it has the personal aesthetic, visually stunning Joe Wright´s touch.

Danielle said...

Ben, how was Keira in her part? Any awards potential? :) What about the others?

Deus Ex Machina said...

What scares me? Hawkins, Mulligan, Rampling and Knightley together? This has to be the most formidable cast of women to be in a movie together since NINE...and err... we all know how THAT went last year.

Deivith Coast said...

I have seen it a second time and I have to say that it looks that, though I don´t like Rampling´s face, it looks tha she is going to do a good job with the character, and though I didn´t imagine Hawkins in that role it looks a great choice, I love her, just in the trailer I want her to be my teacher!

What I didn´t like that much is the music in the end of the trailer and the confirmation of the use of an off voice. I have a great problem with them, but while reading the book I also thought it was going to be unavoidable. I would have prefer a braver decission and quittin the off voice, it was going to be a challenge and a great opportunity fot Mulligan to show us everything that she can do, it would have been very interesting watching this story without an off voice, and more focused on the actors and on their faces and looks. By the way I love the look of the film, I love it a lot, though I see in the quality of the image, I don´t know how to explain it, but when I see the trailer is like a deja vu... I´m afraid that the movie is not good, but I´m dying to see it!

And my personal favourite is Knightley´s character, and I think she has exactly the kind of energy that is needed for the character and the character is yet so different of everything Keira has done!

principessa1121 said...

I wrote my thesis on Ishiguro's works, so I'm a definite YES for Never Let Me Go! As one who is familiar with the book in and out, I have to say the trailer is perfect in that it doesn't say anything that should not be sait but still creates the powerful atmosphere that is so characteristic of the book. On top of that, the casting directors have done a great job! :)

vg21 said...

Definitely yes! I love The Remains of the Day, I have read it several times, not to mention the film, so I'm going to read the book first and then see the film.

I hope it will be a real hit, I am always disappointed when I hear that an adaptation fails to live up to the book. I am usually more benevolent than critics, but still. It would be great to see Never Let Me Go achieve critical success as well as be popular with the audiences.

Jorge Rodrigues said...

Oh how I envy you Americans and British. You can read all those books.

We either have to wait for the movie based on it to premiere OR the books have to be a huge success (like this one) so that we can have the book translated into Portuguese.


That's why I love Amazon so much.


I'm a total 'yes'. This movie will be big come December. Carey and Keira will get noms.

Anonymous said...

The score at the end of the trailer is fantastic!

Kev said...

YES! The trailer's fantastic! I'm tearing up about it already. I'm gonna be a mess when this film comes out. They seemed to have nailed the book's whistful and melancholy tone and the plot specifics. Yes, I'd agree that they spelled out a lot in the trailer that could have been left to mystery. But something like this is going to take some initial explaning to spark interest. I hope that people give this film a proper chance, and that it's good of course. I think that this is going to be huge for Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, and Andrew Garfield. This is material that can get all three of them nominations. Righting that vicious Sally Hawkins snub would be nice, but I don't see that happening if they split up Keira and Carey. Same for Charlotte Rampling, though it's shameful that she's never been Oscar nodded for anything before. The only red flag I had is with the computerized ID scene. That's not in the book. But besides that, gorgeous trailer. This film's going to be a doozy if they did it right. And yes, definitely read the novel. It's truly an amazing work of art.

Arkaan said...

I'm a "YES" with a side of "doesn't Andrew Garfield look like Anthony Perkins"

Chris Na Taraja said...

a strong maybe leaning towards yes. but then the line about "making sure that they had souls kind of killed it for me. so I'm back on the fence.

Again, this goes into the bratty children catagory, which now that I'ma n old man, i'm not sure I want to spend $12 seeing.

Marco G. said...

It seems like the two strongest potential acting nominees to come out of this are Knightley and Hawkins (especially after the Happy-Go-Lucky snub).

Aaron said...

Seriously, Never Let Me Go is one of the greatest books I've ever read. Truly an original. It really is such a macabre premise, but Ishiguro is a master of creating cold and isolated atmospheres with deep, repressed emotion (much like The Remains of the Day)...

...although I am psyched to see this movie, at the same time, I know that it can't possibly live up to the expectations of the book. But I will certainly give it a try.

Anonymous said...

This isn't a "bratty children" kind of a work. It goes much deeper than that. I can't recommend the book enough to really point that out, but I didn't get that impression from the trailer, and if the film hit its mark at all, it won't be like that in the final product.

Alex Ho said...

Half a year ago I did a very loose adaptation of part of "Never Let Me Go" for a college video production class, because I was having a hard time thinking of a story of my own, and Ishiguro's book kept creeping back into my brain. The trailer that just came out sent shivers up my spine because the scene I adapted shows up in the trailer. Not that anyone will likely be interested in this, but here's a link to the short film if you want to see "Never Let Me Go" crappy-student-film style. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnRt4qaJ1ec

Lucky said...

In my opinion the book is not that good. It's a page-turner, and I liked it, but I don't think it's necessarily "good".

I think it doesn't completely deal with the character's problems and makes everything seem a little "light", although that may be because he wanted the whole (spoilers) clone thing to be something natural for them (/spoilers).

It's a worth read, I guess. But don't have high expectations.

Lucky said...

Oh, and the Sally Hawkins is playing is not a big one. She's a teacher from the beginning of the book (when they're still in school).

That said, Keira Knightley could NAIL her part. Her character is bitchy but not one-dimensiona. I can totally see her playing Ruth and could be great.

FranklinBluth said...

I'm annoyed because my favourite scene from the book, which I was very interested in seeing adapted to film, was in the trailer! I wanted to wait for the film... boo hoo...

I definitely think the trailer gives away too much.

And... read the book people! It's excellent.

Brett said...

I'm a huge fan of both Carey and Keira; therefore I heard about the film quite early and was excited for it to come out. Now that i have watched the trailer, I want to see it right now! lol
Definatly a YES for the film :)
P.S hope it gets loads of Oscar Noms lol

Anonymous said...

I thought the book was really fantastic. If you do end up reading it prior to watching the movie my little piece of advice is to go into reading the novel with as little information as possible. You'll get more out of it that way. ;)