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Bones and All


Stars: Taylor Russell, Timothee Chalamet, Mark Rylance, Michael Stuhlbarg, Andre Holland, Jessica Harper, David Gordon Green, Sean Bridgers, Chloe Sevigny, Kendle Coffey

Director: Luca Guadagnino

Decades ago, there was a film called All the Fine Young Cannibals. That would have fitted this ugly fantasy to a T, although Bones and All isn't half bad for a title either. And, if you really want to see a film about people who crave human flesh, but aren't Dracula or Hannibal Lecter, well, this is your moment.

The appealing Russell, who does her best to make her character as sympathetic as possible, plays Maren, a compulsive 'eater', who flees from her latest school (and home) after munching on the finger of a classmate at a sorority party.

Her mother (Harper), who suffers from the same compulsion, has long since been locked away and her father (Holland), despairing for any future, is soon gone too, leaving Maren to hit the road with a backpack and a few dollars.

Initially, she encounters Sully (Rylance, slumming it in showy style), a fellow eater who tells he 'smelled her from a way off' and temporarily takes her under his wing. Although she's safe, as the cannibals' maxim is 'Never eat an eater', Maren still travels on, leaving Solly distraught, and hooks up with a younger eater, Lee (Chalamet) - and they journey together across America, meeting some unpleasant people and occasionally 'feeding'.

Eventually, they try to settle down as 'normal people', but the whole thing is built towards a 'tragic' ending.

The director tries to lend the film gravitas by painting his story as an something of an amour fou, but his movie is (at least) 30 minutes too long and, naturally, something of a one-trick pony, and a lengthy trick at that. Chalamet, who also produced, seems to like out-of-the-way projects that give him more inetresting acting chances, but this one is a difficult, stomach-churning and patience-stretching watch. Don't buy too much popcorn to take in. Just saying.

Incidentally, the letters that appear on screen from time to time as the couple journeys onwards - the cinematography is mighty pretty when it's not concentrating on gore - are abbreviations for the states they come to (MO = Missouri, MD = Maryland, and so forth).

David Quinlan

USA 2022. UK Distributor: Warner Brothers (MGM). Colour by Kodak.
131 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 18.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 3, Drugs 0, Swearing 3.

Review date: 22 Nov 2022