This past month, famous Italian filmmaker, Luca Guadagnino released his directorial follow-up to 2018's Suspiria. Ever since its debut at Venice Film Festival this year, Bones and All has been met with rapturous applause from audiences around the world, praising the film's original story and performances. But is it truly worth the hype?
On Wikipedia, Bones and All is described as a "romantic cannibal road film." It follows the story of two teenagers, Maren and Lee, who both share the same compulsion to eat human flesh. The leads are played by Taylor Russell and past Guadagnino collaborator, Timothée Chalamet. It's certainly not your average romance/drama. Think of the British series, The End of the F***ing World except well... they murder and eat people.
I went into Bones and All not knowing what to expect. The only prior knowledge I had were a few trailers and a rumor that the last 15 minutes were traumatizing and horrific. To be fair, it was, but I ended up leaving the theater with much more to think about than just the third act. Overall, the film tells a compelling story with absolutely gorgeous cinematography and excellent performances from the two leads. The camerawork by Arseni Khachaturan is by far one of the film's strongest aspects, and it pairs quite well with Marco Costa's editing. I remember being genuinely taken aback during a particular scene where the main characters are looking over at a sprawling landscape of fields, somewhere in the northern United States. The way the story spans across various states makes the story feel like an epic. The writing is uncommonly good, as an audience member you can feel the sense of impending doom the characters will face by the end of the runtime. I admire the themes of human nature, isolation, and running from your true self. While I can only hope whoever's reading this is not a cannibal, you will certainly find something to relate to in Bones and All.
I've got to say, for a film about a Bonnie and Clyde/Natural Born Killers style cannibal couple, I was expecting more gore and shock. That may seem barbaric considering just how much there already is in the movie, however I still think Bones and All could've gone farther with its story. The film's climactic ending is the most disturbing out of anything in the film but again, I was left wanting more. I don't think a movie that centers around cannibalism and murder should be out-done in gore by Shaun of the Dead.
Bones and All is the recipent of yet another fantastic score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross of Nine Inch Nails. The standout track being "(You Made It Feel Like) Home" which plays during the final scene. The soundtrack also includes songs from artists like Joy Division, New Order, Kiss, Duran Duran, and a-ha. Can you tell this takes place in the 80's yet? Bones and All is a film that could've done just fine if it had no music at all but the soundtrack adds so much to the atmosphere.
Even though the characters are cannibals and murderers, you cannot help but root for them as audience members. Both Lee and Maren are written in such a complicated and sympathetic light that makes it difficult to hate them like you would any other person doing what they're doing. For that, I have to commend writers David Kajganish and Camille DeAngelis because I cannot imagine how hard it is to make the audience feel sympathy for characters that kill in cold blood.
The performances from Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet truly are the lifeblood of this film, it's hard to imagine anyone else playing their roles. Paired with the fantastic script, the pair really bring the characters of Maren and Lee to life on screen. Other standouts were Mark Rylance as Sully and a surprise cameo from Chloë Sevigny. She must have been on screen for no more than a few minutes but I still cannot get her performance out of my head. There was a surprising lack of romantic plot in this film, considering just how much Bones and All was marketed as a love story. I can't say I mind very much, you can find romance in any film, what you can't find however, is a cannibalistic murder spree.
Despite my gripes with the plot, Bones and All is still not a film for the faint of heart, and I would strongly advise you to not eat before watching it. All in all, it is yet another powerful, intriguing film from Luca Guadagnino and company, and it gives me hope that original stories like these are still being shown love on the big screen.