Director: Luca Guadagnino
Writer: David Kajganich
Starring: Taylor Russell, Timothée Chalamet, Mark Rylance
Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All is based on Camille DeAngelis’s book of the same name. It stars Taylor Russell as Maren Yearly, an eighteen year old cannibal who is struggling to come to terms with who she is. The story is a coming-of-age story that blends together romance and horror, creating something that is at times sweet and at others almost vomit inducing.
At first, not much is given away. The film starts with Maren as an outsider at school, struggling to make friends. It seems like her father is incredibly overbearing, keeping her locked away at night. One night, she sneaks out to a classmate’s house and out of absolutely nowhere she bites the finger off her new friend, which is one of the grisliest scenes imaginable. The effect is incredible, looking very real. It comes out of nowhere like a slap in the face to say that the film isn’t going to hold anything back. You spend the rest of the film waiting for more gore to happen. This definitely isn’t something for anyone squeamish. It’s graphic and brutal.
Out of fear of being found out, Maren moves with her father leaving most of their life behind. Shortly afterwards, Maren wakes up to find that she’s alone. Now that she’s eighteen her father has left her to find her own way, only leaving behind her birth certificate as well as a tape recording of everything he remembers about her killings. Since she was a young child she’s eaten people, blacking out in the process. While on her own she comes across other cannibals, finding that she’s not alone and there are others like her.
The first person she comes across is Sully, a very sinister and almost childlike character played excellently by Mark Rylance. At first he seems to want to help Maren as she learns more about herself and what being a cannibal means. He offers her a way of living that doesn’t mean killing people, as he’s able to smell people who are about to die. From the first moment he appears on screen there’s something off about him, you know he can’t be trusted and even though Maren leaves him quickly, you keep waiting for him to pop back up and make a mess of things. Rylance is really brilliant in the film, as he is in everything. At points he’s funny and then at others he’s scary.
The real story kicks off when Maren meets Lee (Timothée Chalamet). He’s another cannibal, but is also still learning about himself, like Maren is. The pair bond over what’s happening to them and slowly start to fall in love. Their relationship is the heart and soul of the film and there is a lot of chemistry between Chalamet and Russell, with their relationship feeling very authentic as it grows throughout the story. Chalamet, who previously worked with Guadagnino on Call Me by Your Name, is brilliant in the role, giving a great performance. Taylor Russell is also incredible, with a gripping performance that makes the film.
At times the story is very sweet, with Maren and Lee being shown as outsiders who have found where they belong with each other. It’s a moving story and works so well because of how great the performances are. The film manages to balance the tone between this and gore-filled horror, with plenty of death and biting. Surprisingly, it ties the two genres together perfectly, and is incredibly well made, with great cinematography and music. It’s just great all round.
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