Earlier today The Ankler‘s Jeff Sneider announced that one of the gloomiest and dreariest flicks in the history of cinema — Mark Romanek, Alex Garland and Kazuo Ishiguro‘s Never Let Me Go (’10) — is being relaunched as an FX series under the guidance of DNA Films & TV”s Andrew Macdonald and Allon Reich. What a perfectly dreadful idea. I’m in instant mourning.

August 2010 HE commentary: It’s not a very well-kept secret that Never Let Me Go deals with a grim-fate dynamic — an oppressive, locked-down situation in which “a long and happy life” isn’t in the cards for the main characters, who have been raised to be organ donors for the rich.

There’s a famous saying about how “the clarity of mind that comes to a man standing on the gallows is wonderful.” As in face facts, sharpen your mind, prioritize.

I’ve always been one, however, to take it a step further and not just prioritize and all that, but to first and foremost revel and rejoice in the immediacy of the symphony of life.

Death is something to be accepted, okay, but primarily fought and strategized against, frequently laughed at, lampooned and pooh-poohed, acknowledged but simultaneously “ignored” (in a manner of speaking), dismissed, despised and raged against (in Dylan Thomas‘s words) right to the end.

There is only life, only the continuance, only the fuel and the fire…only the next step, the next breath, the next meal, the next sip of water, the next hill to climb, the next perfect pair of courdoruy pants, the next adventure, the next hypnotizing woman, the next splash of salt spray in your face, the next staircase to run down two or three steps at a time, the next rental car and the next winding road to concentrate on and carefully negotiate, etc.

The basic premise of Ernest Becker‘s “The Denial of Death” (1973) is, to go by one summary, “that human civilization is ultimately an elaborate, symbolic defense mechanism against the knowledge of our mortality, which in turn acts as the emotional and intellectual response to our basic survival mechanism.

Becker argues that …man is able to transcend the dilemma of mortality through heroism, a concept involving his symbolic half.”

By embarking on what Becker refers to as an “immortality project” (or causa sui), in which he creates or becomes part of something which he feels will last forever, man feels he has “become” heroic and, henceforth, part of something eternal; something that will never die, compared to his physical body that will die one day.

This, in turn, gives man the feeling that his life has meaning; a purpose; significance in the grand scheme of things.”

There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of dynamic go-for-it activity along these general lines in Never Let Me Go. Nobody seems to protest, creatively deny, fight against, counter-attack, escape from or anything like that. The young people in the book have been created to donate, and donate they do, and then they die. Great.

My basic reaction was that Romanek’s film is really sensitive, delicate, anguished and very carefully made. But it’s morose, and this plus the passivity and resignation doesn’t work. It very gently suffocates.

As Kazuo Ishiguro‘s book makes clear, once the layers have been peeled back and the situation is laid bare, Never Let Me Go becomes a piece, essentially, about resignation and gloom.