Apparently the sun never comes out in this alternate history, either.
Kathy (Carey Mulligan), Tommy (Andrew Garfield) and Ruth (Keira Knightley) live in a world and a time that feel familiar to us, but are not quite like anything we know. They spend their childhood at Hailsham, a seemingly idyllic English boarding school. When they leave the shelter of the school, the terrible truth of their fate is revealed to them. It ain’t pretty, trust me.
I have never read the original novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, and to be honest, that may have been a good decision on my-part, since I didn’t really know what was happening and also the fact that I had no idea what type of mood it was going to put me in, because damn man, it’s a total downer. No, I mean it. It is a REAL downer.
However, let’s not talk about all of that sadness that goes on here, let’s focus on the finer things with this flick (and in life) considering I’m not ready to walk into traffic just yet. It was really cool to see director Mark Romanek back after all an 8-year hiatus from movies and take a subject matter like this because he fits it’s feel and style very well. This whole film, from start to finish, is absolutely stunning and beautiful to look at. The whole look has this very dry sense of color the whole time, but it also ended up giving some of the most beautiful images of this movie such as onne image that stands out the most in my mind is the shot of a beach and a little old tugboat was lying on its side in the sand, with the orange sunlight just barely shining over it. That’s one-shot from this film that really stayed with me and made me understand just the type of world I was placed-in with this flick. It’s a dark piece of material we have here, but with Romanek on-board, beauty still finds it’s way of climbing back into the story and presenting itself the whole way through.
I also felt that the mood that Romanek set for this film was just the right way to approach this material to begin with. I don’t want to get into too much about what goes on in this flick and how it all happens, but the fate these kids are left to live are pretty damn sad to begin with and Romanek doesn’t try to gloss that up with any unnecessary humor or themes about the joys of life. No siree, instead he makes this a flick about how we as humans, are supposed to live out our lives and be happy even though it may not always go that exact-way we want it to be. Then again, I highly doubt that that is what the central message of this flick is all about, but it’s what I could get underneath all of the sadness that Mr. Romanek used so well.
The problem was that there was also a bad-side to that depressing mood as well. This flick is so based on being a total debbie-downer, that even the parts where the flick tries to bring some little moments of being happy, they don’t really do much because you know that no matter what happens, the violin score will just come right back on and thus bring on back the sadness that we thought we escaped. There’s no problem with a film being sad the whole time, especially if that’s what it’s mood is conveying straight from the start, but it’s a real problem is when it seems like that’s the only thing that the film has any time to focus on and rather than just giving us something to smile and at least be happy about for the meantime, we are instead treated to total and utter depression. I guess I don’t quite get it since I didn’t read the original source material but I seriously could have only imagined how bad that must have been.
What really brought me into this flick though was the performances here by this young and attractive cast that have all proved themselves in their own respective bouts, but come together here and do a nice-job with some dull-ass characters. Carey Mulligan is great as Kathy H., and once again shows that she has the emotional chops and presence to pull off any character and have you know she is always around. The new Peter Parker, Andrew Garfield, is also nice to watch as Tommy and feels like a real kid who just doesn’t know how to act around girls, or anybody for that matter. Then again, he also got jipped out of being the co-founder of the largest social network of all-time so that may add a bit of insult to injury as well. (teehee, Facebook jokes rule) The real stand-out here may be Keira Knightley though, who is very one-dimensional as the bitchy and manipulative chick, Ruth, but is very good at it unlike anyway we have seen her before. However, her character does end up starting to change and show some real humanity by the end of the flick and was probably the only character I could actually feel something for once everything was said and done. Which brings me on to my last and final problem with this flick.
I get that these characters are here for a reason that I won’t say, but something just felt off about them to the point of where I didn’t know how I was supposed to feel for any of them. Since there was so much depth to the sadness of this whole plot, the characters themselves are sort of just left on the side and are there for you to care about if you want to or not. The film can be a little stuffy, but it barely let me feel anything for them and then when their fate is finally said to them, it was weird how I didn’t feel any emotional connection. Now it would be hard to say that I could ever relate to anything that any of these characters have been and are going through but I still think as a film, there should have been more emotions centered at the characters rather than just their surroundings. Maybe I was supposed to feel this emptiness or maybe I wasn’t supposed to feel anything for them, maybe it was just for the whole situation itself. Maybe. I don’t know really.
Consensus: If you are in happy mood and want to keep that going, then don’t check out Never Let Me Go, because it is sad, empty (in many ways), and doesn’t have any real moments of shining suns in the sky, but it is also beautiful to look at, a very moody piece that can really put you into its setting, and features a fine young cast that does a great job with all that their given.
The boogeyman is too old school.
The film stars Clive Owen as a father trying to save his daughter from a specter-like figure that appears to be the product of her own imagination. There is also another story that is about this kid in Spain who is having the same problems, but nobody really cares.
The new trend in Hollywood lately seems to be that in order for horror films to stay cool and hip, they need to be old school. Sometimes this works like in ‘The House of the Devil’, and other times it fails miserably like with ‘Don’t be Afraid of the Dark’. So what better way to keep horror movies even more trendy by bringing in one of the oldest horror stories of them all: the monster in the closet.
Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo definitely seemed like he owed somebody money here because he just does not deserve this. I don’t love this director either (I’ve only seen like one film from him), but for a guy that did the sequel to one of the greatest horror flicks of the past decade (’28 Weeks Later’) I have to say that he’s really falling off the map. Juan Carlos definitely does add a lot more to this flick than you would expect because his camera is used well to speed things up, like he did with ’28 Weeks Later’, and has some pretty cool imagery that is spooky but also very good to look at. He seems like he’s trying his hardest to bring some sort of atmosphere here to this flick but it’s all taken away by the script he was given.
This plot basically comes down to the children facing off against “Hollow Face” but neither side is worth cheering for. You never get any real sense that these kids are in danger because every time the boogeyman seems like he has finally succeeded in killing these little pieces of crap, they end up being safe after all and have only a scratch or two on them. Also, why the hell does this damn creature want a face so bad? To be accepted? To be loved? To keep this film going on longer and longer, until I practically fall asleep? I think yes for that last question.
The script also goes from bad to worse considering there is barely any horrific stuff happening here and after awhile, just gets boring. They even place an exorcism scene in the middle of the flick (cause what horror film doesn’t need an exorcism scene?) and it’s one of the most boring and unscary exorcism scenes I have seen in some time and mind you, I did see ‘The Devil Inside’ over two months ago. There was also no reason for this flick to even be two separate stories either considering they are so obviously focused more on the British family then anything else and could practically care less about the story in Spain. They both come together in a dumb way that is expected from these types of films, but it still ends on an awkward note that just feels so damn forced. Then again, so does everything else in this dumb film.
Oh, I almost forgot that there is probably one of the most unintentionally funny scenes here that I have seen in quite some time. First, Clive Owen’s daughter gets scared and says that she is having nightmares about this monster and can’t get to sleep. Thinking that he would be a good father, you expect him to just tell his daughter that all will be fine and dandy and she should just go back and dream a little dream of fairies, unicorns, rainbows, and all that good stuff. Instead, he makes a scarecrow monster, takes it outside to his backyard and lights the thing on fire hoping that it will cure her dread of the boogeyman. This scene was so stupid and dumb that I honestly thought that the film was just making a little light of this whole premise, but instead, they were totally serious and this was probably the high-light of the film, which isn’t really saying much good.
I don’t know what it is with Clive Owen, but the damn dude should be getting A-list roles that get him Oscars, Golden Globes, and all that other honorable shit but instead he’s been stuck doing dumb-ass flicks like ‘Killer Elite’ and this, which both take him further and further away from hitting total stardom. This guy is a good actor, and he at least tries his hardest with this role here but he needs to go back to the days of when he was scoring huge hits in-a-row with ‘Closer’, ‘Children of Men’, ‘Inside Man’, and even ‘Shoot ‘Em Up’. Dammit Clive! Just stop taking shitty movie roles and start making better ones before it’s way too late.
Consensus: Intruders is a horror flick that doesn’t do anything new or exciting with its premise, instead it is just boring, badly executed, and one of those horror flicks that you watch with a whole group of girls because they’ll get scared and hold onto you, but you never watch it again. Cause you never know if you want to remember the night with that chick anyway.