Taylor Russell gives an amazing performance for a rather niche role description in Bones and All
Luca Guadagnino’s production of Bones and All, working off of David Kajganich’s adaption of Camille DeAngelis’ novel, combines gruesome horror, with a love story written so well that audiences forget the former.
Some shots look as though they could be seen on someone’s Tumblr board back in 2014 alongside shots from films such as Perks of Being A Wallflower. So much so that those who have not seen the film will most likely be none the wiser that a few scenes prior our main characters had killed and eaten someone.
This magical aspect of the storytelling of Bones and All doesn’t just stop at the cinematography. Both Russell and Chalamet give an outstanding performance of what is – at its core – a coming-of-age love story. In the last half of the film, you are rooting for them, despite knowing that they are, what’s referred to in the film as ‘eaters’. People appear to need to consume human flesh or risk losing control of the urge.
The movie starts off like any coming-of-age film set in the 80s, with Maren (Russell) at school being invited to a friend’s house for the night. In fact, it started off so unassuming that I began to wonder if I was on the right screen. That is until roughly ten minutes later when we see Maren bite a girl’s finger – as we do in the trailer.
After ‘doing it’ again, her father leaves her once she turns 18. This leads Maren to go travel in an attempt to find her mother, who she never knew.
At the beginning of her travels, she comes across Sully (Mark Rylance) who tells Maren that he could ‘smell’ her from the yard. Throughout the film, Rylance offers a stunning and unsettling performance. Maren’s distrust of Sully is felt by the audience too, we know he’s an eater, but we can’t quite figure out who he is.
Shortly after, we meet Lee (Chalamet), whom Maren spends travelling with in an attempt to find her mum and to figure out why she is an eater.
Michael Stuhlbarg, who, like Chalamet, starred in Guadagnino’s 2017 film Call me by Your Name. Has limited screen time but fantastically delivers the film’s name, helping us to understand the central experience of these cannibals. To eat “bones and all”. His short appearance does not lessen the impact his performance has and enhances the film.
We, the audience, are somewhat like Maren in that we do not know who to trust. When we encounter new characters throughout the film, we are hesitant to decide how we feel about them – are they eaters too? Are they suspicious of Maren? We are on tenterhooks trying to figure out who is friend or foe in this movie.
The soundtrack to the film is wonderful and perfectly creates an engulfing atmosphere, to pull us in just a little bit more. Scenes of Maren and Lee driving in the car, with perfectly selected music in the background, make the film even more enjoyable than previously thought so by audiences.
Arguably one of the best films to come out of the London Film Festival this year, Bones and All is likely to be a worldwide hit at the box office.