Bones and All is Taylor Russell’s first lead role.
‘Bones and All’ is the newest outing from Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino. It stars Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet as young cannibals on the run. Adapted from the novel by Camille DeAngelis, it’s deeply disturbing and romantic. The fascinating mashup of genres works on both fronts: the horror moments hit while still following some tropes of a romance road trip film.
Maren (Russell) has run away from home and is doing her best to live outside normal society. Along the way, she meets Lee (Chalamet), who helps to show her the ropes of their cannibalistic lifestyle while managing their budding romance. In the world of the film, cannibalism isn’t a lifestyle that’s chosen. Instead, it’s portrayed as an affliction someone is born with that can’t be helped. So cannibals must figure out a way to live while having the smallest possible impact on the ordinary world. They’re primarily drifters, constantly staying on the move so as not to be figured out.
This film is Maren’s story, and Russell does a fantastic job of bringing the character to the screen. She’s reserved and cautious but not unwilling to do the things that it takes for her to get by. Chalamet as Lee is wonderful as always and continues his trend of being one of the best young actors in the industry. At first, Lee is a bit of an enigma, showing he’s more hardened than Maren but still emotional and vulnerable. However, the two have incredible chemistry, and the film wouldn’t work without it.
Who knew young love could be so bloody and unsettling?
The love story takes priority, but the moments of cannibalism are as gruesome as it gets since they are displayed in a harrowingly realistic manner. The film isn’t overstuffed with these scenes by any means, but they’re nonetheless memorable. The color palette of the film is filled with grays and browns, appropriately bleak for the tone of the film. Guadagnino takes these depressing looks and gory kills and somehow still manages to make them all beautiful in their own way.
It’s also worth noting that Mark Rylance is in the film as the particularly memorable Sully, a drifter that Maren meets early on who helps to introduce her to life on the run. He’s creepy yet accommodating, but we won’t say more for fear of spoilers.
I give Bones and All 4 out of 5 stars. It is simultaneously romantic, gory, disturbing, and beautiful. Chalamet has a large fanbase, but this likely differs from the type of film they are used to. It will be interesting to see how mainstream audiences react to this moody drama.