Sunday, November 27, 2022

Bones and All


Based on the novel by Camille DeAngelis, Bones and All is the story of two young lovers who embark on a road trip while dealing with the fact that they’re both cannibals. Directed by Luca Guadagnino and screenplay by David Kajganich, the film is a road film that follows two young people who deal with their cannibalistic urges while meeting other cannibals during their trip through the U.S. Starring Timothee Chalamet, Taylor Russell, Michael Stuhlbarg, Andre Holland, Chloe Sevigny, David Gordon Green, Jake Horowitz, Jessica Harper, and Mark Rylance. Bones and All is an intoxicating and harrowing film from Luca Guadagnino.

Set in the 1980s, the film revolves around a young woman who has cannibalistic urges as she travels from Maryland to Minnesota to find out about her mother where she meets a young man who is also revealed to be a cannibal as they go on the road to be away from their urges. It is a film that play into these two young people who both have this hunger to eat people but ponder if they’re the only ones while meeting others along the way as they realize they’re not alone but also live very complicated lives. David Kajganich’s screenplay largely follows Maren Yearly (Taylor Russell) who lives with her father Frank (Andre Holland) as he would lock her in her room until she sneaked out to attend a sleepover with some school friends where something bad happened as she and Frank flee their home in Virginia and relocate to Maryland where Frank has abandoned her though he left her some money, her birth certificate, and a tape recording explaining why he left and aspects about who she is. Upon seeing her birth certificate and the identity of her mother, she decides to travel to Minnesota to find her.

The first act is about Maren’s life and the constant need to relocate as she decides to go to Minnesota despite the little money she has as she would make a stop at Columbus, Ohio where she meets an old man named Sully (Mark Rylance) who is revealed to be a cannibal with some eccentric views as well as what he does to those he eats. It is a key moment in the first act that play into Maren identifying other cannibals through her smell as it is how she meets Lee (Timothee Chalamet) as they both go on the road after Lee kills a man for verbally abusing a woman at a market. The second act is about the two going on the road where they meet a couple of cannibals in Jake (Michael Stuhlbarg) and Brad (David Gordon Green) as the latter was not born a cannibal but chose to become one while the former has a unique view on cannibalism as well as what he likes to do that makes both Maren and Lee uncomfortable. Even as it play into the former searching for her mother and weather she’s alive or not as it leads to all sorts of questions for herself but also for Lee who would briefly return home as the third act is about them dealing with their hunger as well as the people they kill.

Luca Guadagnino’s direction is mesmerizing for not just capturing Middle America in its most rural and open spaces but also in blending many genres in a film that is romantic but also scary in its approach to horror. Shot on various locations in Ohio, Nebraska, Kentucky, and Michigan, Guadagnino creates a film that does feel like a road movie since it starts off at a small town in Virginia where Maren is playing piano at a school where she meets with a classmate in Sherry (Kendle Coffey) who asks her to be at her sleepover. Guadagnino’s usage of the wide shots add a lot of depth of field into the locations including the scenes in Nebraska during the third act as it play into this crossroads that both Lee and Maren are dealing with. Still, Guadagnino does maintain some intimacy in the way he has characters interact with one another with some unique close-ups including a major moment in the film’s second act where Maren meets an old woman in Barbara Kerns (Jessica Harper) who would provide Maren some answers but with great reluctance.

Guadagnino’s presentation to the idea of cannibalism is terrifying such as the moment in the sleepover as it is shocking but the image of Maren and Sully eating an old woman who just died as blood is all over both of them is really terrifying though it’s the aftermath that makes it more discomforting. Notably when Lee and Maren meet Jake and Brad at a park near a watering hole as they all drink beer is when things are scary. It is a moment in the second that sets the tone for the struggles that Lee and Maren have as well as going into extremes as a cannibal where Lee would do something involving a carnival worker named Lance (Jake Horowitz) where it would raise questions into who they are and what are they doing. The film’s third isn’t just about Maren’s encounter with someone at a mental hospital who doesn’t just provide answers about who Maren is but also why her father never told her about her mother. It also leads to a second encounter with Sully that is way more discomforting as it play into the dangers of cannibalism that has Maren wanting to lead a normal life with Lee in the hopes that they won’t hurt anyone ever again. Overall, Guadagnino crafts a haunting yet evocative about cannibal lovers going on the road through America while trying to get of their hunger for human flesh.

Cinematographer Arseni Khachaturan does incredible work with the film’s cinematography as it play into the naturalistic exteriors as well as the scenes at night with its emphasis on low-key lighting as it is a highlight of the film. Editor Marco Costa does excellent work with the editing as it has a few jump-cuts and some stylish cuts to play into the drama and suspense. Production designer Elliott Hostetter, along with art director Victoria Resendez plus set decorators Merissa Lombardo and Rebecca Steele, does brilliant work with the look of the house Sully stayed in as well as some of the places Lee and Maren go to including the home of a man Lee killed that is filled with a lot of records. Costume designer Giulia Piersanti does fantastic work with the costumes as it plays into a more casual look including the torn-up jeans that Lee wears along with some of the weirder clothes that Sully wears.

Makeup designer Mark Garbarino and hair designer Massimo Gattabrusi do terrific work with the look of the characters from the colorful look of Lee as well as the look of Sully with his long hair and collection of hair that he has. Visual effects supervisors Virginia Cefaly, Alessio Bertotti, and Filippo Robino do nice work with some of the film’s minimal visual effects that include one major scene involving a character. The sound work of Michele Gualdrini, Geoff Maxwell, and Jim Morgan is superb for its sound in capturing the atmosphere of the locations as well as the sound of bones crunching to add to the element of horror. The film’s music by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is phenomenal with its mixture of folk-based instrumentation with guitars by George Doering as it also has elements of ambient and classical bits as the score is among the highlights of the film while music supervisor Robin Urdang assembles a soundtrack that features an original song by Reznor and Ross with Mariqueen Maandig Reznor as well as contributions from Duran Duran, Joy Division, New Order, George Strait, Kiss, and other music ranging from country and pop from the 1980s.

The casting by Francine Maisler is marvelous as it feature some notable small roles from Kendle Coffey as a schoolmate of Maren in Sherry, Sean Bridgers as a man harassing a mother and her kids at a grocery store, Burgess Byrd as a nurse at a mental hospital, Max Solis as a mechanic late in the film in Nebraska, Anna Cobb as Lee’s younger sister Kayla who doesn’t know about Lee’s condition as she is a reason for why Lee is protective of her, Jake Horowitz as a carnival worker that Lee meets as a target where things go wrong, and Jessica Harper in a terrific one-scene performance as an old woman who gives Maren some answers about her mother. Chloe Sevigny is fantastic in her one-scene role as a woman Maren meets at a mental hospital who had eaten her own hands as she would provide Maren some answers through a letter. Andre Holland is excellent as Maren’s father Frank as a man who often worries about his daughter’s condition and the danger she brings where he would leave only to leave her a recorded tape message that allows her to figure things out for herself.

David Gordon Green is superb in his small role as Brad as a friend of Jake who had discovered the world of cannibalism and has embraced the lifestyle while Michael Stuhlbarg is amazing as Jake who is a born cannibal that has some very intriguing views as well as what he does with those he eats as it is a chilling performance. Mark Rylance is incredible as Sully as this old man who has a strong sense of smell as he teaches Maren about how to track other cannibals while is also someone who is extremely creepy in his methods and how he tracks other cannibals. Timothee Chalamet is phenomenal as Lee as a young cannibal who is often on the road as he accompanies Maren in her journey while he kills those who feel are terrible though he would eventually question his own methods while also reveal more about himself. Finally, there’s Taylor Russell in a tremendous performance as Maren Yearly as an 18-year old woman who is just trying to understand more about herself as she goes on the road while dealing with her hunger and such as Russell showcases a lot of angst, confusion, and depth into her performance as it is a true breakout performance for the young actress.

Bones and All is a magnificent film from Luca Guadagnino that features great performances from Taylor Russell, Timothee Chalamet, and Mark Rylance. Along with its supporting ensemble cast, blend of genres, gorgeous locations, ravishing visuals, and an intoxicating music score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. It is a film that isn’t afraid to play into the idea of cannibalism but it is also this riveting love story set in 1980s America where two people deal with themselves and their need to not bring havoc around people. In the end, Bones and All is an outstanding film from Luca Guadagnino.

Related: (null 14)

Luca Guadagnino Films: (The Protagonists) - (Tilda Swinton: The Love Factory) - (Mundo civilzado) - (Cuoco contadino) - (Melissa P.) - (The Love Factory No. 3 Pippo Delbono - Bisogna morire) – I Am Love - (Bertolucci on Bertolucci) – A Bigger Splash - Call Me By Your Name - Suspiria (2018 film) - The Staggering Girl - (Fiori, Fiori, Fiori) – (Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams) – (We Are Who We Are (2020 TV series)) – (Challengers (2023 film))

© thevoid99 2022


SJHoneywell said...

I really want to see this, but I'm a good three weeks from my schedule freeing up. With any luck, it will still be around.

thevoid99 said...

@SJHoneywell-Try and see it ASAP or wait for it on a streaming service as it's likely to be gone in theaters due to its chaotic climate and films coming and going. I really enjoyed this one as I have become a fan of Luca Guadagnino's work in recent years.

Brittani Burnham said...

I definitely enjoyed this over Suspiria and A Bigger Splash, but I didn't love it. Rylance was so creepy, I was not expecting him to be the one I was thinking about after the fact. Yeesh.

thevoid99 said...

@Brittani-Suspiria remains my favorite film of Guadagnino so far but I really did enjoy this one a lot. Mark Rylance was creepy as fuck. Even in his underwear.

ruth said...

I was curious to see this for Rylance, but cannibalism just isn't for me as I'm too squeamish for all the bloody sequences.

thevoid99 said...

@ruth-There's not really that much gore except early in the film as it's really more of a romantic road movie of sorts. It is still fucking disturbing but worth seeking out.