“It’s only cannibalism if we’re equals.” – Hannibal Lecter
So often the movie experience can become repetitive. As much as I love movies and rarely tire of them, usually it comes down to nothing more than a movie being good or bad. While most of the time that’s perfectly fine, it’s a pleasant surprise when something comes along that shakes things up. Bones and All is the kind of story that leaves its viewer spinning. It’s the kind of film that challenges the normal and presents something completely original, for better or worse. It’s about bravery on the part of its filmmakers and the studios that believe in them. A love story so endearing and yet is hindered with such abhorrent behavior is a concept not many would be willing to explore. I admire all involved for attempting something so unbelievable.
Bones and All is a masterclass in genre splicing. If you were to tell someone that it’s a romance film about lost youth you would be correct. If you were to say it’s a drama about abandonment and self-acceptance you wouldn’t be wrong. You could also say it’s a bizarre, wholly uncomfortable horror show. It’s all of the above mixed into one insane concoction that makes you question how anyone could enjoy such a twisted viewing experience. It makes you question it even more when you yourself are one of those that found this to be something quite brilliant.
The moments of violence are grotesque and detailed. They are so graphic at times it becomes almost comical. By that I mean someone being assaulted in such a way but the assailant is in tight, white underwear is somehow still a funny visual despite such obscene amounts of blood and carnage. The humorous side of something so dark somehow still shines through at times. What I find fascinating are the moments when that funnier side of things is put aside for true moments of utter revulsion. The way they can pick and choose what is somehow amusing or completely vile is exemplary storytelling. Each is determined by camera angles, color grading and lighting. It’s determined through each character’s viewpoint and how they stomach something like murder and mayhem.
Despite her young age, Maren is no stranger to loss. Whether it’s loss of her loved ones or loss of certain comforts most of us take for granted, she knows what it means to feel incomplete. When an incident takes her last loved one away from her, she must learn to live on the edge of society where safety is limited and danger is in abundance, especially on her own. Trust is scary in her new reality but as a naive youth she reaches out for anyone that might show her any semblance of empathy. Enter Lee. A younger man himself, Lee is more familiar with the cruelties he knows are in Maren’s future. He decides to join her on her journey to not only find family but to navigate their shared, unique handicap. They are outsiders of a society in more ways than anyone could anticipate and when their true selves emerge, beware.
It’s said that some of the riskiest stories to tell are led by either animals, kids or both. In the case of Bones and All, while both leads are adults, they are so young to portray such in-depth themes. They are thankfully quite extraordinary as lost lovers never finding their footing in a lifestyle not for the faint of heart. Timothée Chalamet has already proven himself numerous times as the future of acting and his performance as Lee is no exception. Taylor Russell as Maren is raw and confused. Russell portrays her with such tenderness and somehow never loses her nerve, finding her strength when it’s desperately needed.
I can’t forget to mention Mark Rylance as Sully. His performance is unnerving. He can be gentle but always with a hint of danger about him. He never feels safe to be around, even when he’s being genuinely endearing. He has a childish innocence to him only to switch his mood from kind to murderous in an instant. Rylance so often portrays gentle characters like the BFG or a captured Russian spy. To see him fully unhinged as Sully is alarming but so exciting. He is an absolute force here and his final scene is something you won’t soon forget.
Luca Guadagnino directed Bones and All. If you’ve seen his previous efforts Suspiria (2018) and Call Me By Your Name (Is this irony? If you know, you know.) you know his ability to showcase both fragility and bizarro violence. His voice behind the camera is something to be experienced to fully understand it. He can display true artistry in whatever genre he chooses to capture on a particular day. I like to imagine him giving similar direction for a scene between two lovers kissing for the first time and a scene involving two humans literally devouring another person. It’s enough to make someone smile, or wince.
Bones and All is one of the most eccentric films of the year. If Everything Everywhere All at Once hadn’t debuted this year, I would say Bones and All is the most unhinged story of 2022. Bones and All is brave. It’s ballsy as hell and undeterred by the idea of the inevitable reactions of disgust from the less than initiated who think they’re up for something new. It is one of my favorite love stories this year. It is also extraordinarily violent, unabashedly warped and somehow despite such conflicting concepts, it all meshes to create something unlike anything else. I was left spinning and I, for whatever reason, am glad to have experienced it.
Rated R For: strong, bloody and disturbing violent content, language throughout, some sexual content and brief graphic nudity
Runtime: 130 minutes
After Credits Scene: No
Genre: Drama, Horror, Romance
Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Taylor Russell, Mark Rylance, André Holland
Directed By: Luca Guadagnino
Out of 10 Nerdskulls
Story: 10/ Acting: 10/ Directing: 10/ Visuals: 9
OVERALL: 10 Nerdskulls
Buy to Own: Yes.
Check out the trailer below:
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