There is before Bones and alland there is after Bones and all. This is a line that Michael Stuhlbarg’s character says in the film, and there is no better way to describe this experience. Luca Guadagnino (Call me by your name, Suspiria) directs a visually beautiful, dark, flawed and twisted film with phenomenal performances. This film blends several genres into one, beginning as a coming-of-age drama. The opening is misleading, it first appeared as an indie A24 film complete with Taylor Russell of Waves fame.
However, the film quickly takes a dark turn when Maren (Russell) is revealed as a cannibal. Our indie teenage drama turns into a road horror film where Maren is on the run to avoid the authorities while encountering love, enemies and a person from her past. A multi-layered story with a script from David Kajganich pays off in many ways as Maren meets Lee (Timothée Chalamet), another cannibal she bonds with on her journey. Their relationship is the heart and soul of the film as they grow closer and closer as they act as two flawed, terrifyingly driven with an urge the audience can never quite understand.
Guadagnino and Kajganich tell one hell of an original story. It’s a road movie with an unconventional edge and a dark sense of humor. Surprisingly, at times this is a heartwarming story that, like the characters in the film, can pull your guts out at any given moment. It has fun with this dark premise that puts these two lost souls into an unforgiving world where they encounter others like them. This film depicts the ugliness of others and the love that can blossom between two people who need each other despite everything that can pull them apart.
Russell is phenomenal in this movie. She is a rising star who grounds the film in the tragic nature of her character. Maren is a layered character who spends much of the film searching for her mother. While the theme of a lost parent feels like the most conventionally written part of the film, it is handled and executed superbly. Chalamet, one of the most successful actors of our generation, owns his role as Lee. The chemistry between Russell and Chalamet is the force that brings the film down to earth in a never-before-seen love story between cannibals.
The issue around Bones and all is the skeleton that holds the juicy parts together. While the film is never boring, the characters don’t always have a ticking clock or a goal to reach. As a result, the film lacks a sense of urgency for most of its runtime, jumping back and forth between some moments that are interesting and others less so. But the film works because of the conviction of the story and the disturbing eccentricities of Sully (Mark Rylance) and Jake (Stuhlbarg), two other cannibals the pair encounter during their journey. Everything comes together in a tragic tale in a world that feels unique to itself. A coming-of-age road romance horror drama? It is something worth seeing.
Like ComingSoon’s audit policy explains, a score of 7 corresponds to “Good”. A successful piece of entertainment worth checking out, but it may not appeal to everyone.