Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel of the same name reads like a film, so it seems completely logical to copy and paste the story onto the big screen. Time Magazine might have gone a bit off the rails calling it ‘the best book of the decade’, but it’s definitely film worthy.
It’s about three children who attend a boarding school called Hailsham and are having a great time until they learn a terrible truth about the school. At the moment I’m hoping it will turn out better than the trailer suggests. The mini-twist, (that is the terrible truth), happens about a third of the way through the narrative and immediately becomes apparent as the central idea of the story. Problem is, they don’t want to give this away in the trailer, so it’s a bit of a jumbled mess; after around 2 ½ minutes of watching, you suddenly realise that you have no idea what the film is about. On the surface it looks like Harry Potter without the goblins.
Now, I’m not one to complain when a film takes certain liberties with a book. Changes are necessary and unavoidable when converting an art form into a totally different medium. However, I do recall reading the descriptions of the three characters, and part of the point is that all three are utterly ordinary in their appearance. Tommy is even supposed to be overweight. But look at them there! Tommy is suddenly a blond Adonis and Kathy and Ruth are played by two of Hollywood’s hottest actors. It undermines the story. But it does make a grim concept prettier.
I realise my own hypocrisy in calling the trailer a jumbled mess when, having not given away the mini-twist, this can’t make any more sense. Truth is, I’m still looking forward to it, and anyone who knows the story will probably agree with me. Don’t take a depressed housemate along though. It’s dark stuff.
Steve Jones, Film Editor
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