Exclusive: A new scene from Mark Romanek’s ‘Never Let Me Go’

09.08.10 7 years ago

I can’t believe I’m seeing this one tomorrow.  It’s my first film in Toronto when I get off the plane.  I think Mark Romanek has been sadly underemployed making features so far, and I’ll say this for him… he’s getting faster.  It was 17 years between his first film, “Static,” and his second film, “One Hour Photo.”  This time, it’s only been eight years.  I’ll expect at least one more film from him now before the world ends in 2012, and that makes me very happy, indeed.

In all seriousness, he’s an amazingly smart guy in conversation and a huge lover of cinema, and as beautiful and memorable and important as his video work is, I know he’s tried with features.  He’s had at least three movies implode as he worked on pre-production, big movie star movies, so it’s a thrill to see that he’s made something that people are responding to strongly.  Even if people dislike it, they seem to be reacting and not just indifferent, and I imagine that’s the worst thing a filmmaker can imagine… total bland indifference.

I love the novel this film is based on.  I didn’t know Kazuo Ishiguro’s work at all until “Remains Of The Day” came out as a film, and I went back and read the book, amazed that it wasn’t written by a manor-born Englishman, but instead by a Nagasaki-born Japanese artist who was raised in England in the ’60s.  That outsider’s perspective informs all of his work, and it gives everything he writes this profound melancholy that imbues each line, each word, each moment.

I know Greg Ellwood wasn’t crazy about “Never Let Me Go,” and I’ve certainly spoken with a few other people who felt the same way, but I’ve also been hearing some rapturous responses, some really deep and immediate love for the film.  It’s got a strong cast, great source material, and a truly hungry filmmaker at the helm.  Sounds exciting to me.

And to help tide me over until I see the film tomorrow, Fox Searchlight was kind enough to send over an exclusive clip for us today, in which Charlotte Rampling explains to the children of a very special boarding school that they must follow certain rules.  Check it out in the embed above.

What I love about Romanek is that every detail in the frame is part of what he’s doing thematically.  There are no accidents in his movies, and there’s nothing thrown away.  That clip suggests to me that if nothing else, this will be an exceptional exercise in mood.

Look for this to be one of the first few reviews I publish out of the festival, and look for more coverage of it as the festival continues.

For now, I’ve still got more thing to prep for you for tomorrow. It’s going to be a good one.

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You can e-mail me at drew@hitfix.com or follow me on Twitter, where I’m DrewAtHitFix.

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