'Bones and All: To the Bones'

The recurring joke that has involved almost since its creation to ‘To the Bones: Bones and All’, the new film by Luca Guadagnino that adapts the homonymous novel by Camille DeAngelis, is why Armie Hammer (for obvious reasons) had not starred in it. The red carpet in Milan also began to laugh, which finally had to be suspended due to the avalanche of fans that endangered the integrity of the team. What was clear is that the expectation was huge. However, any kind of joke was drowned behind the screen, because in front of it there was only room for the seriousness that comes with talking about first love, the need to find your place in the world and the complications that feeling different.

Guadagnino has been talking about all this, which could be framed in the adolescent problem, for almost his entire career. Although he was already interested in family drama with ‘I am love’ since 2009, it was not until 2015 with ‘Blinded by the Sun’ that the director began to specialize in the construction of suggestive, powerful images, with special care in portraying teen drama and its metaphysics. Two years later he would direct what, so far, is his greatest success without a doubt: ‘Call Me By Your Name’, the adaptation of André Aciman’s book, where two fiery lovers, Italian Tuscany and Sufjan Stevens came together to create a work of art. In 2018 ‘Suspiria’ would arrive, its as unnecessary as it is masterful remake of the eponymous horror classic ‘Suspiria’, by Dario Argento; something that nobody asked for but everyone dazzled (something like Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’).

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After making his own foray into television with the acclaimed HBO original series, ‘We Are Who We Are’, Guadagnino plunged headlong into ‘Bones and All,’ written by his regular writer: Dave Kajganich, creator and director of ‘ The Terror’. The plot follows Maren Yearly, (Taylor Russell), a young cannibal (yes, as you read) who, after being abandoned by her father, decides to cross the United States in search of her mother.. On her way, she will meet others like her, capable of feeling and smelling her. Proof of this is the enigmatic and great Sully (tremendous Mark Rylance) or, of course, the wandering tramp Lee (Timothée Chalamet) who she instantly falls in love with.

A classic and out of step love story

‘Bones and All’ is a love story, no matter how much blood there is. It is a romantic movie with all the letters. Maren and Lee embark on a road movie together where they will not stop meeting colorful characters (many of them from the same “species”) that will put their condition as people-eaters to the test. One of them, starring in a great scene of tension, is none other than Michael Stuhlbarg (who already stole ‘Call me by your name’ as Elio’s father). All these stones in the road will not only challenge the recent and deep relationship that both young people are beginning to build, but will force them to evaluate their individual journey and face their past. Guadagnino makes use of his great sensitivity when it comes to portraying the latent existential unease among young peoplethis time in a marginal key: it intends to echo what it means to be young in a world that does not accept you.

'Bones and All: To the Bones'

On this occasion, the reason why they don’t accept you is quite clear (swallowing other people’s hearts), but it does not stop reflecting the problem of addictions. Both Maren and Lee are slaves to their desires. They try to fight against their instincts, to leave that “bad life” to reform and find a healthy way out based on love. Because, again, this is a deeply romantic movie, as it sheds some light on hopeless, lonely hearts, and bets on love as a breaking element. The loneliness of existing breaks when you meet the right person. And maybe one addiction is cured with another.

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However, it is far from a perfect romance. It is rather irregular, with certain ups and downs and with a forceful commitment oriented towards a more classic, more passionate love. Although, this time, mixed blood, of course. A poetry about eating is established, literally and figuratively, which is weighed down by an out of step rhythm. And most importantly, it steals screen time from the other brilliant thing ‘Bones and All’ possesses: a palpable savagery in its imagery.

'Bones and All: To the Bones'

More blood!

Chalamet and Russell is a good story with an interesting premise, which could work efficiently without the cannibal component, but this adds a touch of horror, of bloody gore, which seasons very well what Guadagnino wants to tell and, above all, everything, how you want to tell it. The Italian director is coming (as David Cronenberg did during his career and, especially, in his latest work: ‘Crimes of the future’) to the mathematics of the flesh, to show without regard the sexy, the sensual, even the sentimental, through the dismemberment and the bite. Without a doubt, where ‘Bones and All’ shines the most is in its terrifying staging. It has several very cleverly constructed set pieces of pure terror, with an increasing tension for several seconds. Guadagnino transfers the world of the novel to the screen, erecting a kind of zombie survival in a cannibal-vampire key. All eyes follow you, they smell you, everyone is suspicious, and the protagonists must continue without trusting anyone, hiding.

To the rhythm of The Kiss and Joy Division, ‘Bones and All’ becomes a somewhat simplistic metaphor, based on cannibalism, for the saving power of love. It achieves something very difficult, which is to maintain an ode to the most passionate youthful romance while walking on a sea of ​​blood and death. But she’s left half-hearted, with a bittersweet feeling that she could have come up with a better text with all the ingredients she had on hand.

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Note: 6

The best: The staging and the gore-cannibal survival game.

Worst: The youthful romance ends up being pasty and insubstantial.


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