A novel can prove to be a masterpiece after it's adapted into a movie and turns out to contain much more artistic value in written words than in picture frames. Acclaimed by the Time magazine as the best novel of the past decade, English writer Kazuo Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go" jumps into a Fox Searchlight produced movie of the same name, but shows itself as unfilmmable.
#50 book challenge#
However, it's not the fault of director, Mark Romanek, or his excellent cast, since much of the movie carefully adheres to the novel from the setting to the plot and the theme to the tone. Set in the past in an alternative England, "Never Let Me Go" tells the story of a boarding school where hundreds of kids are cultivated to donate when they turn into their 20s or 30s. The donors' purpose is left murky until midway through the book but the strategy of incremental revelation is undermined twenty minutes into the movie: they are clones; they exit to grow kidneys, hearts and other useful body parts and then end up losing their lives after three or four organs have been harvested.
Sorry, that's the movie business. Screenwriters are trained to tell what's at issue in the beginning and then viewers must sit through to see if the ending goes the way they anticipated in their minds. That said, moviegoers of "Never Let Me Go" might expect it to be a story like "The Island", a 2005 sci-fi blockbuster about how clones struggle to run away for freedom. However, the new "clone" movie is more of an inner-world depiction than a showcase of any physical stunts and actions.
Watched the movie first and then bought the book.
So the remaining bulk of the movie just revolves around a teenage trio with special effort to describe the unspoken jealousies, rages, despair, friendships, and puppy love of 12-year-old Kathy when she witnesses her boyfriend, Tommy, and her best friend, Ruth, pair off as sweethearts as the three can't help but come closer to adulthood. The story looks tepid and drowsy onscreen while it gets exquisite and heartbreaking in literature, and offers more than the story itself between the lines. That's the magic of words.
The first sight of the book was like six or seven years ago at my uncle's. The Chinese version of that novel stood quietly on their bookshelf. Wooo spooky, I thought, as I turned the first few pages and saw the description of Jacques Saunirre dying. (Great I remembered how to spell his name.) I was quite a strong kid then, however massively afraid of death and blood.
It's safe to say that any story about what it means to be a clone implicitly or directly asks what it means to be human. "Never Let Me Go" touches upon the issue again and essentially rests on the ultimate question of "why we all should live a life." It pushes people to ponder if what's shown in the movie is the way the developed world treats the rest of humanity in reality.
Years have passed and I grew up into a feminist, understanding how the female gender was formed during the years and how the patriarchal institutions ruled over half of the population. Taking up the movie, (yet the novel) gave me a better insight of the world.
Nevertheless, the thoughts provoked here on big screen is not even half of what the book tries to tell. "Never Let Me Go" proves itself to be a great novel, mainly because it could never be great as anything else.
Jacques Saunirre had never really appeared in the plot, yet he was so continuously talked about, that he plays almost the main role (in contradiction to that of Robert Langdon). I thought Langdon lacked some sense of existence, though. He was just searching around and feeling cheated, by the police and by his friend. The one real achievement by him was in fact explaining the entire Grail experience to Sophie.
On my 1 to 10 movie scale, I give the movie adaptation a SIX.
Sophie was important 'cause she's the final one, the only princess left on the world. Uneven treatment, however, when someone with a royal bloodline could and must be haunted and at the same time protected.
See, the hero was Saunirre, at last.