Today: February 29, 2024

London Film Festival RoundUp 1

Limara Salt Breaks It Down

Last Wednesday the London Film Festival kicked off with a star studded premiere of Mark Romanek’s Never Let Me Go. Set in a dystopian Britain, in which human beings are cloned to provide donor organs for transplants and adapted from Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel of the same name, it focuses on the relationship between Kathy (Carey Mulligan), Ruth (Keira Knightley) and Tommy (Andrew Garfield) who are bred in a seemingly idyllic English boarding school Hailsham.

As children Kathy and Tommy build a relationship that causes Ruth, driven by jealousy, to split them up and become Tommy’s girlfriend herself. The entire film is narrated by Kathy, now in her 30s, as she recalls her life before beginning the process of giving up her organs.

Despite already being released abroad, Never Let Me Go seems like the perfect opening film for LFF as it’s a thoroughly British film with astoundingly good performances from both Mulligan and rising star Garfield. Beautifully shot with a stale and simple palette that reflects and enhances the tone of the film immensely, it’s definitely one to catch.

The programme kept the hits coming with Matt Reeves’ Let Me In, the surprisingly good remake of Swedish hit Let The Right One In. Although most are choosing to write this off as an unnecessary and dumbed down version, Let Me In is an affecting film driven by the performances of child stars Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Moretz and features more than a few memorably brilliant shots.

Anton Corbijn’s follow up to 2007’s Control, The American, is a slow and atmospheric film starring George Clooney. But for all it’s beauty, subtle performances and light thriller tone, you can’t help but feel slightly short changed by this ultimately forgettable film.

Blue Valentine however, is a completely unforgettable film that makes good use of its insanely talented lead actors. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams play a couple of 4 years who portray the beginnings and end of that troubled relationship. Raw and uncompromising, this is a how to do an affecting film about a relationship.

On the other side of the spectrum is Conviction, the true story of Betty Anne Waters and her 16 year struggle to become a lawyer and free her wrongly convicted brother. On the surface, this is a typical Hollywood Oscar-bait film but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Hilary Swank and the ever reliable Sam Rockwell are great as the siblings but a special mention should go to Minnie Driver who proves, once again, that when given the right role, she can steal a film.

Coming next week: Palme D’Or winner Uncle Boonme, top documentaries, Black Swan and British films to watch.

Check out BFI’s video channel BFI Live will be capturing the best of Festival events and interviews and placing them online. See video featuring Never Let Me Go Director Mark Romanek and Cast members Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley and Andrew Garfield, here.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia, who has worked in the media industry for more than 20 years, is the Publishing Editor of KOL Social Magazine. See website:

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