And here we thought the “Call Me By Your Name” peach was controversial.
In director Luca Guadagnino’s latest romance film, again starring Timothée Chalamet, what’s on the menu isn’t juicy summer fruit, but bloody human flesh. Yes, “Bones and All” is a surprisingly effective and touching cannibalistic love story.
You laugh – or wince – at the premise, but it really works in a clever, poetic and loving way.
Duration: 130 minutes. Rated R (strong, bloody and disturbing violent content, pervasive language, sexual content and brief graphic nudity). In theaters.
Based on Camille DeAngelis’ novel, the film cleverly avoids a serial killer or criminal mood (although these are crimes) by making its characters’ perversion almost supernatural. Their appetite for Homo sapiens rather than cows, we learn, is an incurable genetic trait, and they exist on the periphery in secret, like vampires.
Maren (Taylor Russell) realizes she can no longer quell her bloodlust after an accident at a sleepover and runs away from her father’s house in Virginia. During a stop on a bus to Maryland, she meets Sully, a creepy cannibal played by Mark Rylance, who teaches her the ropes and tells her, “I’ve never eaten an eater.”
Fearing for her life, she goes from there and soon encounters Lee (Chalamet) at a pharmacy. He’s a cute met assassin. He’s another eater, and that’s the only story where finding out a hottie is a cannibal isn’t a red flag. They are sadistic kindred spirits.
Lee and Maren go on a journey across America, satisfying their cravings and then moving on to the next state, in part in search of Maren’s lost mother. This is where Guadagnino’s visual mastery takes off. The director captures the heart of the country with fresh, adoring, childlike eyes, much like how fellow Italian Sergio Leone found new vibrancy in the desert mountains and sunsets of ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’. “.
General stores, county fairs and, well, Minnesota have never been so breathtaking.
All the while, Chalamet – as a dark, rebellious waif – and Russell – playing a seemingly innocent, yet ruthless survivor – develop a believable, all-consuming infatuation with their characters’ journey peppered with treacherous ne’er do wells. “Bones,” with its unlikely mix of wide-eyed emo-kid and campfire Americana, is “Twilight” meets Mark Twain.
The two actors somehow turn the young killers into deeply identifiable outsiders. Taken at face value, they are monsters that should be slandered by society. And yet, we are totally helpless in our affection for them. We just want the best for these CANNIBALS.
Be warned that eating other people for brunch is gruesomely depicted and does not shirk. These scenes have a whiff of horror, as do Rylance’s Pennywise the Dancing Clown appearances as Sully.
But even with the gore, as Guadagnino sees it, there’s beauty in these beasts.
New York Post