“Bones and All” is delectable


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Grace Sherban reviews Luca Guadagnino’s latest dramatic horror “Bones and All.”

Grace Sherban, Campus Editor

Luca Guadagnino, best known for “Susupira (2018)” and “Call Me by Your Name,” newest directorial effort “Bones and All” is a graphic yet humanized story that stars Taylor Russell and Timothée Chalamet. 

“Bones and All” follows Maren, played by Russell, who is a young cannibal who is abandoned by her father because of her condition. After her father leaves her with only her birth certificate and a cassette tape explaining her illness, Maren decides to travel to Minnesota in hopes of finding her mother. On her journey, she meets fellow cannibals like Sully, played by Mark Rylance, who develops an obsession with her and Lee, played by Chalamet. 

Maren and Lee decide to travel together, and the rest of the movie documents their relationship while Maren looks for her mother. After a few tense final scenes that one has to see to believe, the movie ends with a beautiful shot of the two leads holding each other as they gaze into the nothingness of a picturesque, Midwestern landscape. 

Despite it being a human story at its core, there are a lot of graphic scenes of Russell and Chalamet literally feasting on other people. The sound design team crafted a realistic mix where the noise of crushed bones and torn flesh will make audiences audibly gasp. For those viewers who may squirm in their seats during intense sequences, this film may be a difficult watch; but these scenes are worth getting through to see the grounded performances of Russell and Chalamet. 

Russell is in almost, if not every, scene of the film and she is the emotional center of the movie. Audiences are in her point of view throughout the entire runtime and, if it wasn’t for Russell’s thoughtful performance, it would be hard to believe that cannibals live among the greater population. 

If Russell is the emotional center of the movie, Chalamet is the heart. Chalamet is no stranger to working with Guadagnino since they have previously collaborated on the 2017 modern classic “Call Me by Your Name.” This trust between actor and director is evident in Chalamet’s work as he delivers one of his best performances of his young career. He is able to complement Russell and – when needed – contrast her performance with care, such as when the two have conflicting opinions on how they should go about finding people to eat.

While the film is character-driven, the cinematography was able to further enhance the overall film despite taking place in what some may consider settings that are not visually appealing. Arseni Khachaturan, the director of photography, created a visual style that makes mundane Midwestern towns and landscapes leap off the screen. 

These images are beautiful on their own but they become worthy of tears when paired with the stellar score composed by legendary duo Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross. The gentle guitar chords that underscore the complex feelings at the forefront of many dialogue-heavy scenes highlight the impact of even the slightest glances between Maren and Lee. This score pairs well with the soundtrack that features songs such as “Lick It Up” by KISS and “Save a Prayer” by Duran Duran which provide a necessary break between the heartfelt compositions of Reznor and Ross. 

Despite its graphic subject matter and borderline gratuitous violence, this film is able to shine through these difficulties to create an interesting character study that uses cannibalism as a way to portray the feeling of being an outsider. “Bones and All” is in theaters now.