In Contention‘s Kris Tapley has joined the ranks of the frustrated regarding Mark Romanek‘s Never Let Me Go, and for the same simple reason. He can’t understand (and is perplexed that the movie fails to satisfactorily explain) why the lead characters, all trapped in a situation that threatens their lives, don’t try to escape.

Romanek’s adaptation of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel “kept me at arm’s length from frame one,” he writes. “There is a distance here, a cold sense of removal from what would otherwise be an extremely moving narrative. I wanted desperately to feel for the characters and their plight, but I felt nothing…at all. I wanted them to rage against their circumstances and show an ounce of the spirit they in one instance even set out to prove they have, but there was, again, nothing.

“Perhaps that’s a subtle point of the piece, but I don’t think so. Romanek seems to have David Fincher‘s tendency toward coolly registered emotional tones. And it does him no favors here. Of the cast, I was most responsive to Carey Mulligan‘s nearly catatonic state of inward consideration and turmoil, but Keira Knightley gets plenty of time to shine, while Andrew Garfield develops a unique character that nevertheless remained elusive when a sense of connection was sorely needed.”

Update: USA Today‘s Anthony Breznican has tweeted agreement: “Never Let Me Go made me ask why don’t these doomed people run, fight, resist?”