Trio tackle heartbreaking tale

Love triangle hardships in Never Let Me Go


RUNNING TIME: 104 mins

DIRECTOR: Mark Romanek

STARRING: Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, Andrew Garfield

A TRIO of bright talent brings Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2005 novel to life in Mark Romanek’s vision of a distopic sci-fi weepie.

With BAFTA winner Carey Mulligan leading the narrative as the achingly resigned Kathy H, this distressing coming-of-age tale unravels like a train wreck.

The minor details- the moments that give away the disturbing horror-show behind the three young lives that will end with certain pain- are cruelly deceptive thanks to the slow delivery of the plot. Before you know it, an hour has gone by before you realise the joke is most definitely on you- it’s too late to look away now and what’s worse is that you know there’s no happy ending.

Kathy, Ruth (Keira Knightley) and Tommy (Andrew Garfield) grow up at the seemingly idyllic boarding school, Halisham. At first nothing seems too out of the ordinary – Kathy and Tommy look set to embark upon a sweet childhood romance, sparked by an analogue love token of a cassette tape.

Though they remain friends, it is Ruth and Tommy that pair off, much to Kathy’s silent heartache. As their time at Halisham comes to an end and they learn of their real fate – to be on standby in case their “originals” need their vital organs – they struggle to come to terms with the knowledge they are nothing more than clones for a short life of “donation” and “completion”- the moment their bodies are no longer needed.

Ten years later, the three meet again – Ruth has donated twice and is nearing death. With guilt for coming between Kathy and Tommy gnawing at her conscience, she encourages them to pursue their love and seek a “deferral” from the former head of Halisham, a rumour that gives clones a few years to be together before donating.

An overbearing sadness permeates the tone of the whole film, it’s oppressive and unrelenting as we come to understand the frustrations of living a life of certain misery.

What makes it more disturbing is the anchorless nature of the period and its setting. The generality of the English countryside and a shabby seaside town is misleading – the peace and tranquillity of what should be simple living is undermined by the Orwellian undertones of clocking in an out with a wrist-tag.

Time is constantly manipulated, with the weightless nature of the decades it undoubtedly spans giving the film an uneasy timeless feature. With excellent performances from three promising actors, Never Let Me Go will have even the stoniest of hearts breaking.


A sinister spin on social networking

Keep your friends close...

CERT: 12A 

DIRECTOR: David Fincher 

STARRING: Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Timberlake, Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer

RUMOUR has it Mark Zuckerberg is less than pleased with his portryal in David Fincher’s The Social Network.

It might have something to do with the way he comes across as a borderline sociopath whose raison d’etre can be traced back to something as banal as getting revenge on his ex-girlfriend.

Yes, it’s true. The birth of a life-altering mode of communication was not borne of genuine intellect, but because Zuckerberg wanted to get back at the girl who broke his heart.

Oh and he stole the idea to get there.

Played with great control by Jesse Eisenberg, the sordid affair begins one night in 2003 when Zuckerberg retreats to his Harvard dorm room after being dumped by fellow student, Erica.

He downs a few beers, blogs about her breasts and creates a nasty little website called Facemash which rates the ‘hotness’ of female undergrads.

His creation peaks the interest of the chiselled Winklevoss twins (Armie Hammer) who approach Eisenberg with an idea for an academically exclusive networking site called The Harvard Connection. 

Zuckerberg agrees to build it then avoids them for six weeks while he creates ‘TheFacebook,’ an academically exclusive networking site. Wait, this sounds familiar.

Unsurprisingly, the Winklevoss twins don’t take too kindly to intellectual property theft and the tale unfolds through the duelling narratives of simultaneous lawsuits, one between Zuckerberg and the twins and another with his former best friend, Eduardo, who provided the cash to get Facebook off the ground.

 Throw Napster’s manipulative Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) in the mix, whose valued contribution to the Company is to drop ‘the’ from Facebook’s title and the dangerous relationship between money and loyalty shines a sinister light on the origins of online networking.

 The fact that not even a modicum of sympathy can be felt for Zuckerberg is a tribute to Eisenberg’s performance as he captures a conscience-free man who excuses right and wrong on the basis of technicalities.

On the way to acquiring 500 million virtual acquaintances the socially inept Zuckerberg manages to build a site designed to make friends and ends up alone.

The world’s youngest billionaire is left repeatedly refreshing the friend-request button on Erica’s profile, outing his creation for what it is: a site that thrives on cyber-stalking and paranoia.