Bones and All (2022)

Drama/ Horror/ Romance
Rated 18
Spoiler Free

Timothée Chalalamadingdong is a great actor but he’s kind of nailed down “wistful hipster” in various different genres. Time to pile on ten stone of muscle and do a Bruckheimer film, young man; get a real acting job under your belt. Wistful hipster is again the vibe in Bones and All, a laconic road trip with added cannibalism from director Luca Guardagnino, of Call Me by Your Name fame. Despite people raving about it I haven’t seen Call Me by Your Name because it doesn’t appeal to me, but Bones and All very much tickled my fancy. Because that's how cinema works.

Cannibalism in cinema has a lurid reputation*, but some recent films have been a bit more clever with it as a theme/ allegory. I enjoyed Jim Mickle’s English language remake of We Are What We Are, Mad Mikkelsen’s Hannibal Lecter was so gifted in an apron that his human hors d'oeuvres were practically food porn and French film Raw was great fun and sexy sexy because, y’know, the French. I reviewed Raw a few years ago and it’s a film brimming with ideas.

Early on Bones and All has a finger eating scene reminiscent of but not equal to Raw’s stomach churning moment. Kindly you could call this a nod, unkindly it’s a bit derivative.

Hungry young lady, Maren (Taylor Russell), heads out into the world for a life on the road interspersed with the occasional consumption of human flesh. Along the way she meets people with the same taste in people she does, notably Sully (Mark Rylance dialling the creep factor up to 11) and Chalamet’s lethargic Lee. Bones and All reminded me of Interview with the Vampire, with its deeply unsettling teacher and pupil dynamic- scholastic exsanguination.

The problem with Bones and All, though, is that it’s very arty and almost too cool for its own good, as if it’s trying too hard to convince you it doesn’t care what you think. Because of its nonchalance the bloodthirsty journey drifts along and while it doesn’t drag I was never captivated by it. Saying that, I quite like the lack of sensationalising the violence. It’s no more grim than it needs to be, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want more gore. There’s almost always room for more gore.

It’s not an out and out horror so to expect that level of gleeful gristle would be wrong, but Bones and All is still notably gruesome. The story’s concluding scenes are very unsettling. Which I liked, obviously. There’s probably a subtext I missed because I’m too stupid.

Bedsit it?

I have mixed emotions. Probably because there might be a lot more to Bones and All than at face value. Face value is all I got time for though. Some people will absolutely love this film, others will hate it, many will know it just isn’t for them prior to seeing it and not bother. That’s how cinema works. Brilliant isn’t it. 6/10
*On the lurid end of things, Cannibal Holocaust always sticks in my mind, and Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno was fun.

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