Saturday, October 9, 2010

Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go is good science fiction movie in the classic mold. The rules of science fiction are simple: set the story in a time or place where events that are not possible in the real world can happen; then set forth a story, often a parable or allegory. I need to avoid spoilers here, so I'll be circumscript. Never Let Me Go follows three children in a private school in England that are being raised for a specific purpose. The three are joined at the hip, but, inevitably, grow apart as adults.

The setting is pretty sweet - it doesn't exist in the real world for technological reasons but the story is set in the recent past, making the contrast even more stark. Before you know it, the sci fi part of the movie gives way to moral and ethical explorations.

It moves a little slowly, but I liked that. It allowed the human and sci fi parts to soak in. Two guys were loitering at the box office when I bought my ticket. When they heard that I was going to see Never Let You Go, they asked who starred in it. When I said Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan, their glances were as vacant as if I'd said "an apple and an orange." I hope they didn't follow me in. Utter disappointment would follow.  They'll be first in line for Transformers 3, no doubt.

During a particular emotional scene, the multitasking part of my brain started comparing Never Let You Go to other sci fi movies. I was struck that most of what we call science fiction is really future fiction, and really isn't science fiction at all. It's car chases with cars that fly, fist fights with slow motion and gun fights with ray guns. I'll take thoughtful stories about the human condition any day. And a futuristic shoot 'em up once in a while.


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