Due to its subject matter, this film should be called sci-fi. But its tone is far closer to a somber period piece. Mark Romanek, whose only other feature film was the sad thriller ONE HOUR PHOTO, has kept the same straightforward tone of the book from Kazuo Ishiguro, whose novel REMAINS OF THE DAY was adapted into a somber film as well. Romanek never sensationalizes the material into some kind of conspiracy thriller. He asks one philosophical question and spends the film answering that question in an emotionally powerful way.
Kathy (Carey Mulligan, AN EDUCATION), Tommy (Andrew Garfield, RED RIDING TRILOGY) and Ruth (Keira Knightley, PRIDE & PREJUDICE) have grown up together at the highly controlled boarding school Hailsham. The headmistress Miss Emily (Charlotte Rampling, SWIMMING POOL) does not stand for anyone breaking the rules. The children were told stories that if they left the grounds even for a second they might be savagely murdered. They wear wristbands to make sure they are all accounted for. The new teacher Miss Lucy (Sally Hawkins, HAPPY-GO-LUCKY) begins to question the morality of how the children are being treated, but her views are seen as subversion.