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Quick Review: Bones And All
The Latest From Director Luca Guadagnino
The following is my review for the film Bones And All. A reminder, you can click this link to see how I score films when I review them.
Abandoned by her father, a young woman named Maren embarks on a thousand mile odyssey through the backroads of America where she meets Lee, a disenfranchised drifter. But despite their best efforts, all roads lead back to their terrifying pasts - and to a final stand that will determine whether their love can survive their otherness.
Five years since he directed the Best Picture nominated hit Call Me By Your Name, Luca Guadagnino has gotten himself situated in a dramatically different type of story to tell with Bones And All, an adaptation of a novel that tells of the love story between two literal cannibals. But given this is also the man who directed 2018’s Suspiria remake, he may just be the guy for the job to tackle two genres that couldn’t be more different than the other merging into one tale.
And here Guadagnino does do a great job with his direction. Making us sense the tension or even the desperation of our characters when they find themselves in danger. With camera shots that make you actually feel like you’re literally running side-by-side with our leads at several points in the story.
And the characters are brought to life by good performances from Taylor Russell as our protagonist Maren and Timothée Chalamet as her love interest Lee. But the real highlight that seems to be rightfully getting a lot of the buzz is Mark Rylance as Sully, the film’s sort of main antagonist who he portrays so well he’s literally drooling for vengeance in one scene. Every time Sully come son screen you know he’s bad news and he’s a strong contender at the moment to make my top five favorite supporting performances of the year.
But I must warn you this movie is not for everyone. If you have a weak stomach, the gore here may be too much for you. There’s fingers literally getting bitten off of the bone, there’s various scenes of cannibal action where you actually see humans eating other humans, organs are pulled out of bodies, and blood is a plenty. And yet somehow in all this gore we still get quieter character study moments that give us more insight into our characters.
For me though the movie’s romance and ability to pull off gory horror alongside the great direction and performances are overshadowed though by how grim this love story is. There were times I felt like the movie was almost being mean-spirited and daring me to stick around with how uncomfortable it could make viewers with certain actions of our protagonists. All culminating in an ending that felt very rushed and will have some feeling queasy.
I think there’s a chance Bones And All could become a cult classic, and I do expect it to make several “Best of the Year” lists. The direction is great, the performances are good (Especially Rylance), there are great character moments in this, but it also isn’t afraid to push boundaries, and did push me away more than a few times by doing so. For my part, I thought it was an okay enough horror romance; but for those who can stomach it, this could be your next favorite cult classic.