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  • Writer's pictureWill Scarbrough

Review: Bones and All

A story of first love between Maren, a young woman learning how to survive on the margins of society, and Lee, an intense and disenfranchised drifter, as they meet and join together for a thousand-mile odyssey which takes them through the back roads, hidden passages and trap doors of Ronald Reagan's America. But despite their best efforts, all roads lead back to their terrifying pasts and to a final stand that will determine whether their love can survive their otherness.

Taylor Russell, Timotheé Chalamet & Mark Rylance.

Bones and All was one of my most anticipated films ever since the first look with Taylor Russell & Timotheé Chalamet facing each other next to a car, along with Luca Guadagnino attached to the film as director. Call Me By Your Name is one of my favourite films of all time so naturally, I expected great things. The first teaser was short but sweet, clearly highlighting that the cinematography and performances would be on point but as for the narrative, it would tough to guess.

In an already brilliant year of film, Bones and All is one of the best in this more than perfect execution of a story many would turn a blind eye to. It’s gory, it’s unsettling but so so beautiful, a word I would never guess would be associated with a romantic story involving cannibals. Taylor Russell, following her breakthrough performance in ‘Waves’ proves once again why she’s one of the brightest young stars in the industry. Her quiet, empathetic yet vicious performance left me with great anticipation for the Oscars, while she has competition, I do believe she should be in the conversation for a nomination. Despite following a character that murders and eats people, Taylor, along with the superb writing have managed to make the audience truly latch onto her character and even rooting for her success. It’s clear from the beginning that her cannibalism is a disease she endlessly tries to fight and overcome. Instantly aligning her with ourselves, relating to any kind of struggle in our own lives that we long to conquer. Not only is the screenplay and performance empathetic, but Luca’s pristine directing and cinematography that is more than gorgeous. Each frame is purposeful and beautifully crafted, shaped for either empathy or fear.

And to no one’s surprise, Timotheé Chalamet knocks out another fantastic performance as Lee, whom is a lot more complex than what meets the surface. He is kind but deeply struggling, running from his past in many different ways. Reasons you’ll discover upon your first viewing. His relationship with Maren is wonderfully intimate and told, endlessly rooting for the both of them, despite circumstances. However, the strongest of the male actors is Mark Rylance’s outstanding performance as  Sully that had me sweating and shivering in fear, he always felt like a man on the edge of collapse and that it’s more frightening than one who always loses it. While not in the film as much as Chalamet, he left a huge stamp on the film and one I will not stop thinking of for a while.

The score is both terrifying and full of love, pulling on the heartstrings of the guitar when the film needs its love elevated. As well as all other technical aspects of the film, the score rivals some of the best of the year. It compliments nicely with its unusual yet effective pacing, that incorporates a lot of jump cuts to get things moving.

Bones and All is outstanding. It plays with the idea of marginalised people finding comfort together and how they cope with the reminding thought of the people they hurt to keep going. Despite being so unsettling in moments, it can be one of the most comforting and beautiful experiences you’ll currently have at the cinema. Everyone and everything is to the highest standard & will be one I will revisit many times in the future.

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