bones and all
starring: taylor russell, timothee chalamet, mark rylance, and chloe sevigny
REVIEWER: nick tonkin
Maren, a young woman, learns how to survive on the margins of society.
Bones and All is a striking film, featuring a powerful lead performance from Taylor Russell and support from an excellent Timothée Chalamet, director Luca Guadagnino has created a film that blends genres with skill, allowing it to stoke conflicting emotions in its audience through the melding of horror, romance and a coming-of-age story all into the guise of a road movie.
Taylor Russell is thoroughly convincing as Maren, a girl thrust into an unforgiving world, especially as she has a side of herself - a compulsion, that she's never had anyone to ask for guidance in how to manage and live with. The film handles well the characters that come across Maren's path as the plot progresses, exploring how in the dark fringe of society that Maren finds herself a part of, that those who precede her aren't necessarily going to be what they seem nor trustworthy.
With Timothée Chalamet's Lee the film challenges this truth, as while Lee is of the same nature as Maren, afflicted by the same horrific compulsion, he's a little more experienced in this way of life but not yet jaded enough by it to avoid developing a connection with Maren. They do so ultimately on a deeply human level, a testament to the strength of Russell’s and Chalamet's performances, which the film relishes in exploring given how the way they are compelled to live is so incredibly repugnant to human society.
Bones and All has a dreamy feel that the score and song choices encourage, a vibe that the cinematographer’s choices of a soft image and colour palette and the 90s rural setting also contribute towards.
Though when these elements are punctuated by the bursts of visceral horror that frequent the film, it consistently shocks. It even takes a toll on Maren and Lee, as they are forced to examine the nature of the life they are drawn towards and what it means to live it; a quandary that is made so compelling by the excellence of the performances of both Russell and Chalamet.
Impressively both disturbing and deeply romantic, Bones and All is another striking statement from director Luca Guadagnino.