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Bones And All (Subtitled) (18)

Cast: Timothee Chalamet, Taylor Russell, Mark Rylance, Ellie Parker
Genre: Romance
Author(s): David Kajganich
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Release Date: 23/11/2022
Running Time: 131mins
Country: US
Year: 2022

Teenager Maren learns from her absent father that she may have inherited her hunger for human flesh from the biological mother she has never known. She embarks on a quest to track down the missing matriarch to better understand her carnivorous nature. Maren crosses paths with fellow "eater" Lee and they form a murderous double act. However, there are myriad dangers on the road including conflicted souls like Sully.


LondonNet Film Review

Bones And All (18) Film Review from LondonNet

Love is thicker than blood for director Luca Guadagnino, who smears and spurts viscous body fluids over wood floors and white tiled bathrooms in his curiously poetic and moving romance. Adapted by screenwriter David Kajganich from Camille DeAngelis’s award-winning novel, Bones And All reunites the Oscar-nominated Italian filmmaker with his Call Me By Your Name muse Timothee Chalamet for a melancholic and murderous road movie in the vein of Badlands. The stomach-churning twist here is the doomed fugitives are fine young cannibals, or “eaters”, outcasts at the mercy of carnivorous desires, who can temporarily sate those urges with the taste of freshly torn human flesh and viscera…

Guadagnino eases us in gently with a close-up of teeth sinking into the knuckle of a finger. Once Mark Rylance’s menacing predator slinks out of the shadows, the use of horrific special make-up effects becomes more pronounced in unsettling scenes that recall the frenzied feasting of a zombie apocalypse. In the midst of carnage, lead actress Taylor Russell delivers a gut-wrenching performance as an afflicted teenager, who yearns for tenderness and meaningful human connections but cannot trust herself around other people. She catalyses smouldering screen chemistry with Chalamet and visibly sheds real tears in intimate scenes of regret and self-reflection.

Introverted 18-year-old Maren Yearly (Russell) first displayed cannibalistic tendencies at the age of three, fatally injuring a babysitter. Every night with her consent, father Frank (Andre Holland) locks Maren in her bedroom for his own protection but she yearns to belong and sneaks out after dark to attend a sleepover. The mood of giggling sisterly solidarity sours when Maren chews off a friend’s freshly lacquered digit, necessitating another change of location and identities. Faced with life on the run, Frank reluctantly abandons his daughter, leaving her an envelope of cash, her birth certificate and a cassette tape confessional.

Maren decides to track down her biological mother (Chloe Sevigny) in Minnesota to better understand her compulsion. On the road, she encounters similarly afflicted souls such as Sully (Rylance), who teaches her to appreciate the metallic, tangy scent of fresh prey, creepy rednecks Jake (Michael Stuhlbarg) and Brad (David Gordon Green), and alluring drifter Lee (Chalamet). “I don’t want to hurt anybody,” she meekly professes. “Famous last words,” snorts Lee.

Bones And All confidently walks a tightrope between aching beauty and brutality, a high-wire act impeccably photographed by cinematographer Arseni Khachaturan that demands a cast-iron constitution. I repeatedly winced in the dark. When Russell and Chalamet aren’t ripping our hearts, they are breaking them, trapped in the moral maze of Kajganich’s script. Running time is excessive – Guadagnino’s road trip could happily lose some narrative detours – but you can’t hurry fraught, young love.

– Kim Hu


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