Bones and All
24th November 2022
Words: Christopher Richmond
There’s no point trying to establish the genre of Bones And All: it can’t be done. From the nauseating opening sequence the film bounces from one genre to the next proficiently weaving elements of coming-of-age, indie drama, psychological thriller, and full-on horror into its narrative. There’s even a handful of legitimately comedic moments to lighten the tone, critical when said tone is as dark as the thick, black blood which frequently soils the screen and the skin of our central characters. Following a pair of young cannibalistic lovers as they embark on a twisted road trip, the film reunites Timothée Chalamet with his Call Me By Your Name director, Luca Guadagnino, although aside from some nice scenery and a questionable central romance, the two films couldn’t be more dissimilar.
The relationship between the carnivorous lovers played by Chalamet and newcomer Taylor Russell is a Bonnie and Clyde-esque fable interwoven within the horror tradition. The incessant bond which ties one to the other is the driving force behind the story, their magnetic union built upon one of the most fucked up romantic foundations ever put to screen. Russell provides a gentle protagonist, her sad, lonely performance allowing the audience to forgive her cannibalistic tendencies, whilst the always-reliable Chalamet makes use of his best qualities: heartthrob, maniac, freak. Mark Rylance’s antagonist threatens to steal the show as a chilling and serial killer-adjacent eater, his menacing smile lingering long after the camera leaves him. It’s a disquieting performance which deserves to sit alongside the great villain performances of the genre.
Bones And All must exist as a metaphor for something - drugs, lust, greed - but what it represents hardly matters. What matters is that it’s a quality, original script, lovingly filmed, and with one of the biggest actors of his generation in the cast. It’s arguable that the involvement of the bankable Chalamet helped get a film as freaky as this off the ground, and for that we should all be grateful. The industry is a richer and more fruitful place thanks to Chalamet’s adventurousness when it comes to taking roles, and the Hollywood landscape would be much less interesting without him in it.
Bones and All is now showing in cinemas.