“Cannibal”, “romance” and “coming of age” are not ideas one often comes across in a single sentence.
And yet, here we are. Luca Guadagnino’s latest directorial venture is this and much more.
Bones and All hit the silver screen earlier this week with its US release on 18th November 2022 and the buzz around the film seems to never end. Guadagnino reunites with his Call Me By Your Name star Timothee Chalamet, who plays the notorious character of Lee opposite Taylor Russel’s Maren.
Blood, Guts, Gore
Bones and All has really taken the genre of body horror to the extreme. With netizens squirming at the graphic and violent nature of the film, Bones and All is being termed “the grossest movie” out there. With its unsettlingly realistic prosthetics and the disturbingly vivid sound design that amplifies every thud and every slurp, the movie is bound to leave an impact.
Guadagnino’s interesting portrayal of the two young cannibals or “eaters” as they refer to themselves and their budding love has raised eyebrows but those who have watched the film have found themselves in a strange way almost identifying with the two drifters.
Cannibalism as a metaphor
It is important not to interpret the film too literally if one wants to make sense of it. Guadagnino uses cannibalism as a potent metaphor for alienation and authorization. Maren and Lee represent those in a state of complete marginalization with absolutely nothing to fall back on other than themselves. The two form a partnership that transitions into love as they take drastic measures to fulfill their urges. Their killing and devouring spree is the result of the antagonism and hostility they face from society.
Guadagnino’s sensitive portrayal of the pair of ostracised outsiders is worth admiring. Is he traversing a dangerous territory romanticizing cannibals? Definitely. Does the film at times feel like a strange mash-up of his previous films, Call Me By Your Name and Suspiria as it violently oscillates between spine-chilling gore and beautiful moments of tranquillity? Yes. This is a strange movie and it is strangely good – a deeply human story about eating humans.
The film is not for everyone. Viewer discretion is most certainly advised.