Bones and All. Quick Review.

Sometimes a project doesn’t need a great deal beyond a very specific log line to sell it to a certain audience. Given that Call Me By Your Name was this author’s second favourite film of 2016 the thought that Luca Guadagnino and Timothée Chalamet were re-teaming for YA adjacent cannibal movie (beyond the inherent irony of Armie Hammer not being in it given what is now known about him) was two inherently intriguing not to be a potentially tantalising prospect for this viewer. Add Taylor Russell to the mix and this only sweetens the deal. Most of the crossover audience for this type of film probably know her best from Trey Edward Schultz’s flawed but intriguing Waves. That said Russell made an immediate impression on this viewer having watched all three seasons of the Netflix Lost in Space reboot. Russell and Mia Sandwell as the rebooted Penny and Judy Robinson were the stand-out players in that show delivering the kind of performances that signalled much bigger things for both of them. Thus even if Guadagnino’s Suspiria remake signalled a filmmaker that was potentially too long and self-indulgent to gain mainstream attention this author was still excited to check out what he would do within such an eye-catching premise. How is the film?
Pretty good. There was a slight warning sign early on when it looked like the film was heading towards the sort of attempt at elevated YA that also birth to be atrocious Bodies, Bodies Bodies in 2022. Thankfully while the film has an air of the kind of indie-focused naturalism meant for the festival and genre crowds it also has enough momentum fur possible broader appeal. That is assuming one can get around the inherent abrasiveness and juxtaposition within the premise. The fi;m feels like a very earnest throwback to the genre-inflected romances in the post-Twilight boom of the early 2010s. Except for this time with the sort of genuine credentials and hard R rating that’s not afraid to attempt to show the audience some grisly credibility as an effective cannibal movie. Mark Rylance delivers a wonderfully skin-crawling performance as a recurringly ominous villain. He also resulted in one of this writer’s favourite cinema-going moments of 2022. This is based on a moment in the extended first act where Rylance has the majority of his screen time. As part of a certain amount of backstory exposition, the audience is told that he ate his relatives. This prompted a spontaneous walkout from one of the other patrons at the screening. This is a hard R-rated cannibal movie. It’s a disturbing moment but also the exact sort of thing one might expect given the genre we are dealing with here. it was also somewhat surprising to see that Timothée Chalamet is very much the supporting player here. He only comes in at the end of the first act. from that point on after Russel’s character escapes the clutches of Rylance. It becomes the sort of earnest yet authentic and effective teen road movie one might expect. All with enough strong delivery and momentum combined with excellent performances to escape the tag of critic bait in certain circles. That said if this was entirely going for mainstream attention Guadagnino may or may not have been noted into oblivion until the final cut had reams of unnecessary backstory telling the audience how cannibals came to exist in the universe. Beyond the explanation of where the title comes from the firm thankfully doesn’t take this approach. It certainly makes the piece a lot more intriguing and offers the kind of moral questions where the implied imagination of the viewer could be a lot more horrific than anything the creative team could come up with.
With the film’s genre and influences it’s not hard two functionally plot out the series of story beats from minute one. That said there’s more than enough time dedicated to building Russel and Chalamets relationship as central characters that certain audiences will engage with their journey. The film makes a series of choices that may well assign it as nothing more than a future indie-spirited curio that can cross a certain amount for the mainstream divide. This is perfectly fine. Ultimately Bones and All is certainly a y film that delivers on its premise.
Bones and All pretty effectively delivers the film it promises from its logline. When combined with strong performances, effective but not over-the-top naturalism and enough scrunge to please visceral genre fans it will most certainly connect with the right audience. Whether or not these viewers remain remarkably niche it will still hold a certain level of appeal to them. If this prospect of the film sounds intriguing to a viewer it’s well worth a look. The sort of thing that will have a small but dedicated audience of cult genre fans in years to come.


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