Sam Strange Remembers: NEVER LET ME GO

Sam Strange thinks he's a clone now.

As humans, we all arrogantly believe we're the center of the universe and often fail to empathize with other, lesser lifeforms. Not Sam Strange. I consider it my duty to offer cinematic armchair psychological examinations of as many non-human species as possible. I already did Ape psychology with Babe: Pig in the City and Robot psychology with A.I. Here with Never Let Me Go, I finally delve into the slightly depressing world of Clone psychology.

Nearly all of us have benefited in some way from these Clones. Maybe one gave your grandpa a new set of lungs, or perhaps a heart. Maybe for your 18th birthday one of you lucky ladies got a new set of Clone boobies. Maybe one of you fellas out there answered your midlife crisis by getting some Clone's bigger wang. I know how much I used to hate my brown eyes until a Clone donated his beautiful blue peepers. I'll be forever in his debt.

It must be hard to be a Clone. For one, you're born into a snooty boarding school. For two, you can't smoke or drink because you have to stay healthy. For three, you're not a real person. For four, doctors will kill you before your 30th birthday. For five, the only way to rebel is to commit suicide so all the cool kids die in high school.

So I just wanted to see how sad a film their plight might make. Business-wise though, Never Let Me Go represents a new form of film distribution designed to battle pirating. It works like this: if someone were to tell you, "Hey watch this sad movie about Clones born solely to farm organs," a number of scenarios will run through your head regarding what might happen in such a movie. You'll then think, I wonder what really happens in the film because surely the filmmaker dug deeper than the obvious bullshit I just instinctively came up with. Nope! Unless you're a really talented writer or a sociopath, you just watched Never Let Me Go in your subconscious. You now owe me $2.99 ($4.99 if you imagined the film in HD).

For the first half hour of Never Let Me Go, we hang out with the Clone kids at Clone school where all the students learn about sex and comedy and art as if they were real people. One girl who never talks or does anything finds a kindred spirit in a boy who also never talks or does anything. She tries to get some love going between them, but it's difficult because neither like to talk or do anything. This is how you get your film into the Awesome Character Hall of Fame.

Unfortunately a third girl comes along and uses her coquette-like ability to coerce introverts on the boy so he falls in love with her. He doesn't argue. Partly because he's too shy, partly because he likes getting kisses regardless of who's giving them, and partly because he can tell they will both grow up to have severe underbites.

So the quiet girl who doesn't do anything gets sad. Meanwhile, a teacher gets dropped off at the wrong school and offers the audience a lot of opportunities for exposition by asking questions no actual Clone teacher would ask like: "Why don't you just leave?" and "Why is everyone at this school so goddamn sad all the time?" and "Why do none of you teachers mind all the pre-pubescent fucking going on in this school?"

She then gets sacked from the school and a bunch of missing years pass. Actually, we shot digital and lost a whole twenty-minute chunk of film one day when someone set an industrial magnet on top of my laptop. Unfortunately, it was the twenty minutes where we learn why we're supposed to care about these characters. It didn't really matter though. Drama is sizable enough in death row movies and mortally doomed romances that you don't really need characters, and this film is both at the same time. In retrospect, actually knowing what made the characters special seemed like a waste of time.

So the next time we see our trio of main characters, they're in their 30s and ready to leave the school. We have Ms. Sad Face, Ms. Sharp Face, and Mr. Scrunch Face. Directing Ms. Sad Face was pretty easy. Because of her sad face, I only had to tell her to stay still. Sometimes we'd drop tears on her cheeks. Ms. Sharp Face was easy, too. To make her emote all you have to tell her is "Breathe through your mouth." Mr. Scrunch Face was easiest of all. You just waive some peanut butter off-screen where you want him to look. For his big screaming scene, we just took the peanut butter away. Simple.

The three of them live somewhere and do some stuff all day while they wait for their donation assignments in ten years. Sad Face gets tired of waiting for Scrunch Face and Sharp Face to break up, so she becomes a Clone Carer, which means she… I don't really know what she does. I guess she's nice to Clones who are about to die. Maybe she gets paid for it? I never really go into Clone finances, but I should have googled it because now I'm getting all irritated at myself.

Eventually ten years hurry up and pass so the film can get to killing characters. That's what people came here for anyway. Sharp Face is first to go. She's spends the second half of the film pretty ready to kick the bucket anyway. Her first donation was pretty easy. Some dumb hick tried to clear a blocked lawn mower with her foot, so Sharp Face gave her some toes. Her next donation was pretty bad, though. A solitary confinement prisoner went on a "Pee-strike" and burst his bladder, so she loses hers. By the time they pull out her brain, she's not really in a mood to argue.

But before she dies, she gets Scrunch Face and Sad Face together to apologize for purposefully sabotaging their potential love. They talk about this rumor that the Clone president will give couples a deferral if they can prove they're in love. Scrunch Face and Sour Face listen and just start laughing their asses off. "We may be Clone's, but we're not stupid!"

It's too bad, though. With their love, they really have something to live for. Additionally Scrunch face has become a really good artist since he was a kid. His specialty is those squiggly swirls people draw on notepads while on the phone. Some of his pictures are dirty, too, like this one of a weird horse's butthole:


Pretty soon, it's time for Scrunch Face to make his last donation. He wants to have sex with Sad Face but can't because his first donation was to a breeding parrot that had been put to pasture prematurely. When they put him under for the last time, he smiles at Sad Face despite his obvious fear. Peanut butter.

Then Sad Face drives into the country and meditates on how clones and regular people are pretty much all the same since everyone dies and the length of a human life can be as long as one hundred years and as short as those uncomfortable post-ejaculation moments. Then a meteor falls on her head.

She's wrong anyway. Clones aren't like us normal people. Because they are clones. They don't have souls like us. We grow them to think they do, but they don't. Which means they can't go to Heaven. Which means we can kill them. This is why God only gave them four fingers. So don't feel bad about taking their organs. Yes, they live and love and suffer just as we do. But they only have four fingers. Seriously. Only four.

(three stars)