To continue on the series of "practice what you preach" and how movies fail miserably at it, here's Never let me go. At the beginning of the movie in the orphanage, or whatever it was called, one of the girls asks: "Who would make up such a horrible story"? Who indeed? Instead of the poster I'll use a still from the film which pretty much sums it up: bleak.
It may be my own fault, but I set out to watch this movie because I thought it sets a good melancholic mood, you know the kind that makes you feel small and insignificant through showing you something great or leaving you crying your eyes out but with a good feeling inside. This is not like that, it is just demoralizing and sad. Oh, and lifeless.
First up under scrutiny is the SF theme: growing children to be organ donors. This doesn't spoil the movie: they find it out soon enough too. And you kind of do in the first sequence of the movie. Now why was this necessary? Is it supposed to be a metaphor on the brevity of life? Is calling the sun a ball of fire a metaphor or just stupidity in writing? I mean the movie is about relations and the search for love and how ultimately we are alone... That's it, just human relations in a rural environment.
The only part which was any good at all was the one with them teenagers with the touching of issues like sexuality, but then it looses its focus and goes on a wild goose chase. Too bad, it was actually starting to get interesting and intense for a moment.
<SPOILER> As for the ending, well it's similar to Pan's Labyrinth or the Sixth Sense. I mention those movies because they have the same idea of showing you what the end will be at the beginning, bu they do it with style and at the end you are full of emotions that burst and awe while remembering the intro. Here not at all, because nothing in it was interesting enough to make me forget the beginning, when the narration starts. I'll sum up: Tommy and Ruth die and Kathy is left alone. And you know this is going to happen, which is why I don't know why the whole 3rd act wasted my time with the characters trying to get a delay? How am I supposed to give a shit? We just jumped 10 years into the future, do I care if you jump 3 more to the part where they actually die? </SPOILER>
In the final act I already started doing a review in my head as it was too boring to pay attention to and I inevitably compared it to Remains of the Day. You know with the difference that that movie is actually good, probably because Anthony Hopkins can act. But the feeling it conveys is still not that of a cartoon happy bunny family having a pick-nick in a field full of flowers. Imagine my surprise when I found out the books they are based on were written by the same author.
But there is a far better parallel out there (and also Japanese at its core): 5 centimeters per second. From the first line of that movie you find out that that is the speed at which cherry blossoms fall.
This anime succeeds at everything the other movie fails at. It is almost the same with 3 episode of children, teenagers and young adults, but each of them is a masterpiece. The first episode alone has more feeling, more memorable moments, more tension and expectation and more love in 20 minutes than "Never let me go" in its full length. The melancholic part is the second one with touching on shyness and unrequited love in a much more heartfelt manner, while also containing the loneliest moment I can ever remember seeing in a movie. It's all due to the great atmosphere and the stunning visuals. The final episode is about chance and distance and loss and contains a full length music video which is pretty annoying :P
The end has got to be the most depressing I have ever seen. Basically the conclusion is that it doesn't matter if you find love, or are a good person, or do your duty, you will end up alone and an emotional wreck anyway, so you might as well just give up or kill yourself now. And don't consider people who share a great love happy. About how a too great love can destroy your life and what to do about it more in the next post (also about a movie).