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MOVIES (LFF 2022): Bones and All - Review

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One of the more questionable choices of the scheduling of this year’s London Film Festival was scheduling Bones and All before lunch. an appetite killer . It’s a cannibalistic bloody delight not unlike 2016’s Raw, but instead it’s a different sort of coming of age story - a metaphor for the likes of addiction, groupies and found family - Luca Guadagnino using this film as a way to shine a spotlight on the fringes of society - in a spiritual heir to Near Dark' owing a lot to the '90s films like Thelma & Louise, it's a genre-bending road movie that takes delight in the outdoors - capturing a sense of adventure and camaraderie in the darkness. Whilst this film does not look out of place with the rest of A24's output as a distributor; Bones and All captures the feeling of Terence Malick and Badlands, the sense of style - Guadagino unmatched in his usage an understanding of coolness. The director's first feature since Suspiria in 2018, also a festival film - is a return to the horror genre; but you'd be wrong to expect more of the same - ever the chameleon.

Taylor Russell’s character goes on the run again after she can’t resist eating someone at a sleepover. She turns up bloody in the middle of the night and is left abandoned by her father the next day. Quickly journeying with Timothee Chalamet’s wayward son after a chance encounter with the old guard, Mark Rylance’s Sully, Bones and All tells you enough about it’s world as it keeps moving through it - a fantastic exercise in using the Road movie as a concept for world building with Guadagino’s style really being evident from the word go. If anything it may be too evident - the style over substance doesn’t quite mean that Bones and All gets the depth it deserves - the style is predominant and the film misses the rawer touches of Near Dark, it feels too manufactured to be pulp and too polished. Whilst a Joy Division needle drop can’t hurt, in addition to a Leonard Cohen classic that was reportedly Chalamet's idea, Bones and All feels largely surface level - afraid to go too deep.

It doesn’t help that the film overstays its welcome, there were multiple points where it could have ended but it just kept going - and on top of that the messy structure does it no favours. But that aside the cast are all excellent, Chalamet and Russell have good chemistry and you buy that instantly - but for all the talk of the young stars this is Mark Rylance’s film, I’ll never forget his unflinching, uncompromising performance. It’s off the charts insane and delightful in every possible way - and maybe his best recent performance since Bridge of Spies. You’re legitimately terrified every second he’s on screen. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Chalamet and Guadagnino is a killer combination - literally; Chalamet offers a wealth of experience beyond his years, whilst Russell brings a sense of naivity - she's new to fending for herself in the world of the cannibals, finally finding out that there are in fact others like her - she thought she was the only one. The broad strokes of the themes that the movie approaches - found family is a heavy feature too; with both our young protagonists, Bones and All feels like a confident if perhaps too smooth addition to counterculture canon, and for that it should be rewarded for trying at the very least.

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