Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel must have been a bit more solid than this doom-laden mush. As it stands, Alex Garland’s fuzzy script & Mark Romanek’s swoony megging have made it the perfect pic for anyone who can’t bear to take Gorecki’s Symphony #3: ‘Sorrowful Songs’ off their playlist. The tale’s jolly conceit, which might do service for Monty Python, holds that decades ago humans were cultivated for their parts . . . like Purdue chickens. Once mature, they’re prepped for organ donation, usually doing three ‘procedures’ before giving up the ghost. (And did the company pack the liver, heart, neck & gizzard in a neat plastic bag for the squeamish? Heck, do we humanoids have a gizzard?) Zounds!, this all sounds like a major global concern, but why worry over ethics when a soulful romantic entanglement quivers into fitful view. Yes, a bitch of a triangle for two woman (fragile/neurotic Keira Knightley; sweet/docile Cary Mulligan) and the skinny male classmate they mist over (skinny/skinny Andrew Garfield*). The opening scenes with the trio as kids at Hogwarts, er . . . Hailsham Academy are good creepy fun (it’s THE STEPFORD KIDS meets COMA), but once the grown ups take over the roles (none well-matched with their youthful selves, not even their hair), the whole set up starts to feel like . . . a set-up. Anyway, the whole gang are so lacking in motivation, so hopelessly lethargic, it’s hard to believe their organs could be of much help to anyone.
DOUBLE-BILL: Pauline Kael blissfully took down an earlier totalitarian Pop fantasy when François Truffaut’s adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s FAHRENHEIT 541/’66 came out, imagining the poor sucker who had to live their life as the living memory of VALLEY OF THE DOLLS. See her review on the NY’er archive.
SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: *Check out those skinny legs on Mr. Garfield! No wonder he got cast as Spidey in the Spider-Man reboot.