The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 104 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, Traditional Cantonese
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightly, Andrew Garfield, Charlotte Rampling
Directed by: Mark Romanek
Music by: Rachel Portman
Written by: Alex Garland
Region Code: A,B
Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 1, 2011
"Be healthy for vitality"
Never Let Me Go is a powerful story revolving around Kathy (Mulligan), Ruth (Knightley) and Tommy (Garfield), three best friends who grow up together at an English boarding school with a chilling secret. When they learn the shocking truth - that they are genetically engineered clones destined to be organ donors - they embrace their fleeting chance to live and love.
Never let me go is based on the novel of the same name by Kazuo Ishiguro. The fictional story opens in an alternate 1967 where a discovery allows the average lifespan of humans to be somewhere around age 100. Fast forward to 1978 and the seemingly idyllic boarding school of Hailsham where the influences of the outside world are minimal and the importance of physical health for students is a priority. The children co-exist and share many of the same adolescent school yard experiences you would expect to find in such a sheltered environment. The truth is that Hailsham is anything but an ordinary boarding school. The children are carefully watched over with undisclosed but certain futures that lack the promise of them becoming anything more than a mere reflection of humanity. Kathy, Ruth and Tommy are three very different children who become friends while growing up in Hailsham. Their connection becomes an emotional one that binds them into young adulthood. But soon the complications of maturity, relationships and unfulfillment call, despite the inevitability of their existence, as they struggle to embrace their fleeting chance to live and love.
I wasn't aware of this film or the book prior to receiving this for review. The synopsis looked interesting but I went in with moderate expectations just the same. It turned out to be an evocative dramatic film that reminded me a little of The Island. The idea of genetically engineered people designed for one purpose, to act as donors, for someone they are modeled after is of course disturbing but the focus here is less sci-fi and more about the heartache of missed opportunity/lost love. It moves a little slowly but carefully defines the characters which derive a better connection to the story's foreboding premise. It begins with them as kids and focuses on three periods in their young lives, 1978, 1985, and 1994. The story is narrated by Kathy and is primarily told from her perspective. As seen through her eyes this is a profound, touching and tragic film that resonated with me. This is the third or fourth film that I have seen Carey Mulligan in and I find her wholesome beauty and indelible acting to be enamoring. Kiera Knightly and Adam Garfield are equally deserving of praise as are the three actors that portrayed the trio when they were youngsters. This is a very visual film which is aptly reflected in both its shooting locations and cinematography (which are gorgeous). I haven't read the novel but after seeing this film I can attest to the compelling nature of its ingredients. As I alluded to earlier Never let me go moves a little slowly but ultimately results in a rewarding film experience.
The rating is for some sexuality and nudity.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Never let me go comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 31 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.2 Mbps.
The high definition video quality was on par with other new release films of its type and looked great. Colors were natural looking with a pleasing and reserved quality that capably handled the somewhat limited palette required by the period settings and clothing featured in the film. Flesh tones varied a bit with some appearing well delineated and lifelike while others had a slightly pale appearance. Contrast was spot on which augmented the beautifully captured natural lighting of the exterior locations featured in the film. Images were detailed and crisp, with definable lines and appreciable dimension. While I noticed sporadic occasions where resolution fluctuated slightly this appeared innate to the photography and never called fidelity into question. Blacks were strong with discernable gradational quality while detail in dark areas and low lit sequences was estimable which enhanced depth. The video was rendered well and didn't show any signs of compression related anomalies or video artifacts.
The DTS-HD MA soundtrack readily handled the elements contained in this dialogue driven film. The presentation retained a front loaded perspective with well defined and clearly articulated dialogue that extended well into the room. Sounds were reproduced with discerning clarity and delineation that brought forth plenty of subtle nuance and low level detail. Surround activity was limited to rear channel spatial cues and occasional directional sounds. This isn't a dynamically demanding soundtrack however this lossless presentation was a perfect match with the source material and sounded fine.
- (HD) The secrets of Never let me go - 30 minute making of documentary
- (HD) Mark Romanek's on-set photography - 3 minute slideshow (set to the film's music)
- (HD) Tommy's art - 2 minute slideshow (set to the film's music)
- (HD) National Donor Programme & Hailsham campaign graphics - Faux PSA
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
Based on the novel of the same name by Kazuo Ishigura Never let me go successfully blends elements of sci-fi, drama and romance into a profound, touching and tragic film that slowly develops but ultimately proves rewarding. It features strong direction, gorgeous cinematography and wonderful all around performances by its young talented cast. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox featuring excellent high definition video quality, crystal clear lossless sound and middling bonus supplement that include a decent making of documentary. If you're a romantic who doesn't mind a little genre mixing this is worth checking out.
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