Bones and All review: An age-old romance brought to bloody new life

Bones and All review: An age-old romance brought to bloody new life

The urge to equate young love with fate and mortality probably goes back far beyond Shakespeare and Romeo and Juliet. They are such a natural narrative couple: first loves rarely last, and youth certainly does not last.

For most people, that burning intensity of young love – the feeling of excitement and discovery “Everything is new and wonderful, and we’re the first to have experienced sex” – is likely to fade quickly. . And for adults thinking back to that time in their lives, the sense of loss and nostalgia can feel like the emotions associated with death. But the metaphor has rarely been as surprisingly vivid as with Luca Guadagnino. bones and alla bloody clash that contains many familiar horror movie elements, but feels much more like a classic road romance.

It’s a strange film, apparently designed to confuse the two fans of Guadagnino’s previous horror feature, the messy 2018 giallo remake. Suspiriaand fans of his 2017 sunny gay romance Call me by your name. Whereas bones and all ties these two films together so well that it seems calculated, it also raises the question of how much viewership there might be between the two films. Horror hounds may be disappointed at how the movie is a low-key relationship drama and coming-of-age story, weak in breathless tension and jump scares. Fans of romantic dramas are sure to see more gory gutting than they’re used to in their movies. But for genre-agnostic moviegoers, the boldness and uniqueness of the story — an adaptation of Camille DeAngelis’ 2015 YA novel of the same name — will be a big part of the draw.

Lee (Timothée Chalamet), a young man with deep dark circles and a mop of curly hair dyed red, sips coffee and gazes confrontationally at the camera in Bones and All

Photo: Yannis Drakoulidis/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures

bones and all brings together Guadagnino and call me by your name star Timothée Chalamet for a second love story. But Chalamet takes time to enter the scene. Initially, the film is centered on Maren (Waves‘ Taylor Russell), a high school student with a slew of secrets. Maren lives alone with her father (André Holland) in a dilapidated and decaying house. A stealthy sense of shame hangs over every little detail of their home and their interactions, but it takes the film a while to reveal why that’s true and what they’re both navigating. And when the reveals arrive, they’re both terrifying and exhilarating, in part because the details are so unexpected.

In addition to preparing for massive amounts of bloodshed and brief, intense violence, bones and all is the kind of film that is better experienced in the moment than in descriptions. Each new revelation about Maren’s past and present is carefully uncovered, in part because she doesn’t really understand her own nature and has to learn from it alongside the audience. Screenwriter David Kajganich (writer-producer-developer of the beloved horror series Terror) never feels like he’s in a hurry to tackle a particular part of the story. He and Guadagnino make plenty of room for Maren to learn through conversations, first with new acquaintance Sully (bridge of spies‘ Mark Rylance, disappearing once again in an incredible performance), then with a new acquaintance Lee (Chalamet), a boy around his age.

Viewers who don’t already know the fundamentals of the movie and want to experience it in theater should stop reading here. The first trailer and festival summaries for bones and all were coy about what makes Maren, Lee, and others different, but public descriptions of the movie largely shared the secret: bones and allThe central, wide-eyed couple are both “eaters”, actually ghouls driven to devour human flesh. Their victims don’t need to be alive, but once they start consuming human bodies, they must continue or die. bones and all more or less follows in the footsteps of the films of Bonnie and Clyde at Terrence Malick Badlands to put a pair of pretty people on the wrong side of the law and send them on the run, but in this case, one wonders how human they are. And their crimes aren’t sexy or stylish, like Bonnie and Clyde’s bank robberies or the vampire murders in Hunger — Guadagnino makes bloody, grotesque, animalistic drinking rituals a distasteful matter of survival.

All of this gives him more room to play when it comes to romanticizing Lee and Maren’s connection. There is a century-old tradition of sexualizing monsters and predatory behavior, and bones and all leans hard into it, while building the story around the old coming-of-age patterns of the protagonists finding each other (and finding their courage in the process). Maren has a lot to navigate – a family mystery, her first love, her first understanding that there are other Eaters and the rules that bind them. But above all, she must discover who she is in Lee’s shadow and outside of it. He knows a lot more about the world and about Eater’s life than she does, but she knows more about what she wants and who she hopes to be, and she must navigate how her desires meet her understanding of the world. world.

Lee (Timothée Chalamet) and Maren (Taylor Russell) stand in a vast green field under a wide clear blue sky filled with fluffy white clouds in Bones and All

Photo: Yannis Drakoulidis/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures

As call me by your name, bones and all is a sultry film, particularly visually – Guadagnino basks in the kind of sweeping sky views that made for the same Andrea Arnold summer vacation theme American honey so memorable, and it fires its pellets warmly by day and with stealthy fervor by night. But it’s more notable for how he and Kajganich navigate the story’s romantic elements and horror themes. There’s a big metaphor at play here about how parents, families, and friends allow aberrant behavior until it seems normal, and how being shielded from the world can make it difficult to enter it properly. And it plays in radically different ways at the same time: both through the lens of two young children on a romantic road trip, and as two growing monsters who seduce and kill other people for food.

There’s an equally complex sense of attraction and repulsion at play in Maren and Lee’s relationship. They are very different people who rarely seem suited to each other – but they also have this unwavering central similarity in common, and the fact that neither of them knows another eater their age brings them closer, even when they exasperate each other with their conflicting goals and beliefs. The filmmakers buzz the questions with live-wire intensity throughout the film – should these kids stay together or break up? Do they help each other as much as they hurt each other? That’s a lot of complications for a movie of young lovers, and Guadagnino makes the boundaries of their relationship far more strained than any question of who might be stalking them or whom they might be chasing.

bones and all is going to be a tough sell for many audiences, given the odd way it straddles genres and tones. There’s almost an element of camp in the way Guadagnino contrasts the appealing image of Lee and Maren holding each other silently in a private moment, and the repulsive image of them slicked with dark, clotted arterial blood and drawing flies as they flee from the corpse of their latest victim. But the craft throughout the film is impressive and compelling. The cast and performances are incredibly brilliant, especially when an almost unrecognizable Michael Stuhlbarg and director David Gordon Green show up for a stunning one-sequence cameo. And the whole enterprise is deliciously weird, the kind of movie that leaves people walking away thinking ‘I’ve never seen anything like this this before.” This film draws on some very old tropes and familiar ideas. But it does so in a way that makes them feel as new, fresh, and uplifting as young love itself.

bones and all is in theaters now.

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