That we’re already being shown trailers for fall’s ostensible Oscar bait should tell you everything you need to know about how bad this summer has been for movies thus far. Joining Sofia Coppola’s Somewhere in the ethereal mood piece genre, here comes Never Let Me Go with Keira Knightly, Carey Mulligan and relative newcomer Andrew Garfield (the upcoming Facebook movie, The Social Network). Here’s an early tip: Bring the tissues!
Based on the acclaimed novel by Kazuo Ishiguro (The Remains of the Day), the film tracks the lives of our three protagonists from a boarding school in an idyllic English countryside to young adulthood to the reveal of a deep dark secret that threatens to change everything. To its credit, the trailer doesn’t give away Ishiguro’s key conceit — though it tries pretty hard with the wrist scanners and genre slug on the Apple trailer page as “science fiction” — but even if you know what’s coming, you’ll probably be all right. After all, it isn’t the mystery that makes Never Let Me Go work, but the journey.
Knightly and Mulligan — looking more like Michelle Williams with every passing moment — are perfectly Merchant-Ivory together, but there are some problems. First, that guttural scream that Garfield lets out towards the end of the trailer is like a parody of a prestige film; and second, director Mark Romanek, who the trailer helpfully reminds audiences was responsible for One Hour Photo. That’s supposed to make us want to see this? Maybe Fox Searchlight should actually see One Hour Photo before putting it in their marketing materials.