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A rather unknown and, if you believe the rottentomatoes rating, quite average director on the helm of a film that has a seriously heavyweight cast of young (Carey Mulligan, Andrew Garfield, Ikea Knightley) and … er … mature (Charlotte Rampling) actors, is based on a success novel by a celebrity author, and comes with an intriguing and unsettling plot.There are interesting choices for directors who could make this an impressive, disturbing film. As it is, it is slightly too… hm… straightforward in a way.

Without giving away anything about the plot: despite there happening unspeakable things and people living in unspeakably inhuman worlds, this is all a bit dull. I thought that somebody (probably the Japanase-British author of the novel with the unspeakable name) had a very interesting idea, and was so happy about it that he forgot to make anything of it. What a waste! A pitch-black dystopian fantasy waited to unfold, and what did we get: kids holding hands.

I appreciate that there was not jolly happy ending, and there was the effort to carry the atmosphere of hopelessness beyond the film’s ending. That atmosphere of resignation I did feel, but I would have expected it to be wrapped in a plotline that I could be interested in.

As it was, I was fascinated by the first 20 minutes, and after the scene where one teacher reveals more to the students than she should have, and after I realized that this conflict is not carried on through the film, I started getting distracted, and finally a bit bored… however: Carey Mulligan is very watchable again, Andrew Garfield is a bit overdone, Charlotte Rampling is creepy, and Ikea should get something to eat.

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