Bones and All is now in theaters.
Bones and All by Luca Guadagnino is beautiful, romantic, and brutal. A cannibals road trip film that tells its tales of vampires or werewolves, it’s an American Gothic poem of unexpected twists and turns based on a powerful drama. Led by actors from, among others, Taylor Russell, Timothée Chalamet, and Mark Rylance, it feels inside even in its sad moments, which makes the work sweeter and more interesting than you might expect, but no less. heartbreaking.
It begins unassumingly in Virginia in the 1980s, where mixed-race teenager Maren (Russell) adjusts to her new school and to her rich white friends, even as her father, Frank (André Holland), tries to protect her. His reasons become clear when Maren goes to sleepovers and, during a romantic moment with a classmate, gets carried away and bites her finger. When he returns home bleeding, Frank is not surprised (and the haste and habit with which he picks him up and leaves) tells us that this has happened before.
It is also the last straw. A few months after moving to Maryland with a new identity, he reluctantly abandons Maren in the middle of the night, leaving her with nothing but her birth certificate – which contains information about her estranged mother, whom she doesn’t remember – and a Walkman. and a cassette tape detailing his actions, revealing aspects of his bloody life that he had kept hidden for so long. Unable to listen to everything at once, he hears her confession out loud on the street as he rides buses and climbs stairs in hopes of following his mother and finding answers about her.
This journey, its meetings, and its pitstops serve as the reservoir of a story of self-discovery, which contains the same loneliness and love that Guadagnino brought. Call Me Your Name. It’s also full of self-loathing, an obvious but effective comparison to a film about cannibals – or “cannibals” – who drink and are shamelessly eaten. Guadagnino gets into this mindset when Maren briefly crosses paths with a cannibal named Sully (Rylance), who sports a ponytail under a feathered hat, poses as third person, and sniffs out our runaway child from half a mile away. Eaters have a sense of smell, we learn from Sully, who not only teaches Maren some of the essentials of “their” species, but serves as a visionary for a lonely future, a kind of adult who has seen the worst. the world has to provide, and it wants to prepare Maren for a life of isolation.
Although the bloodshed mostly occurs off-screen, there is a tradition of cannibalism – not traditionally or even magically, but as a bond between two people (whether two cannibals, or cannibals and cannibals). However, the legend of the human diet takes a back seat when Maren crosses paths with Lee (Chalamet), a young, confused twenty-something with a moral code, and a residual form of connection with his family (a rarity for diners). It’s silly and complicated, it’s the kind of silence that a young person like Maren might find strange, but there’s also something about it that makes him sad too – between this and Call Me By Your Name, Guadagnino perfected the skill of using Chalamet to make a Sadboi movie – and the versatility of the characters makes the film be quiet for a while. Appropriately, an important event for Lee and Maren to understand other diners (and themselves) takes the form of a fireside chat with a character played by Michael Stuhlbarg. However, it’s the exact opposite of its counterpart in Call Me By Your Name, which makes it difficult and uncomfortable rather than comforting.
As Maren and Lee travel across the US, Guadagnino and cinematographer Arseni Khachaturan capture each scene with a visual effect, using celluloid to capture the warmth and mystery in the atmosphere. He also works magic by showing a handful of frames, during which vivid memories slowly reach the minds of the characters, as if they are removing their disturbing thoughts from physical thoughts, burned on the film. Throughout, musicians Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross star bad, angry tone. It feels like falling in love, but it’s also very sad, as if Maren and Lee’s love isn’t out of this world for some reason.
Some of the film’s zigs and zags may not match its carelessness – a late turn in particular, while terrifying, makes its silent horrors stand out – but there’s rarely a moment when Bones and All doesn’t. feeling emotional. Guadagnino experiences grief not as a touch, but as a fabric, which is swayed by the burdens of the past even before they are recognised, making for a film in which love feels as heavy as it does release.