I'm Doing this in order from best onward
1. Never Let Me Go
Honestly, I was skeptikal when I first started watching this film. I had recently read the book and fallen in love with it's muted and dismal story telling, oddly life affirming messages, and exceptionally written characters. Although I felt that the exposition was much stronger in the novel (a natural occurence in adaptations), but the film delivered on the devastation ten-fold. There is a desperation that the actors bring to the film which the novel couldn't do with just words alone. I think the best example of this is the scene in the diner at the Norfolk cost. The characters rod and krissy are discussing the topic of defferals with the three main characters: Kathy, Ruth, and Tommy. The magnitude of the situation comes across much more in the film because of the two actors sad and eager faces which in the book only felt conversational. That being said the book is phenominal, and the film compliments it well. This is one of the rare cases where I think that the film is on par with its source material, mainly because one has what the other lacks.
Technically speaking the film is really well done. The Art Direction is fantastic. There is an austere dilapidation to all the buildings, such as Hailsham, the bording school, or the cottages where the characters venture to after their stays at said school. Where the craft portion of the film really shines is the cinematography. It really conveys a stark darkness throughout the film, even in the brightest of places. The only exception is the fields of hailsham which feel bright and safe and brimming with a strange childlike wonderment which works for that portion of the film.
The Adaptation is really well done as well. The plot (which follows the lives of 3 young children in their journey into adulthood where they learn that they are clones whose sole purpose in life is to have their organs harvested) has very few minor changes from the novel, and none of them are really jarring.
Where this film shines the most (other than Ishiguro(the novelist)'s narrative) is the performances by the three principals. Although Andrew Garfield(Tommy) does a nice job, the film truly belongs to Carey Mulligan(Kathy) and Keira Knightly(Ruth). I was pleansantly suprised to see the amount of subtlety in Mulligans performance after the powerhouse one in An Education(for which she was robbed of an oscar). Knightly, as always, gives a great performance, and hers is the most forward of the three. Honestly, I wish she would have been nominated and won the oscar for best supporting actress, she was really that good.
All in all this movie is fantastic, and has secured a place as my number four favorite film of all time.