The term ‘unique’ gets thrown around a little too carelessly and frequently in film reviews but Great Caesar’s Ghost is there just no better way to describe Luca Guadagnino’s genre-meshing magnum opus, Bones and All.
A memorable, horrifically haunting, and carefully crafted love-story-road-movie-horror-film-noir, Bones And All might be surmised as ‘David Lynch does Twilight’, ‘Romeo & Juliet : Cannibal Lovers’, or what might happen if Netflix accidentally scrambled their lists for young love, macabre horror, and vampire films.
Again, no peg quite does Guadagnino‘s film justice.
On the run, Natural Born Killers-style (though unarguably this duo’s motives are far more innocent than Mickey and Mallory’s), Maren (Taylor Russell) and Lee (Timothée Chalamet) are renegade Eaters (the filmmakers are smart not to simply tag the duo cannibals, or vampires, but simply state they’ve a love for human meat) on the run from society – largely because they’re both wanted for doing the odd bit of damage to people’s fleshy bits.
While dodging the law, and fellow Eaters (like the uncooked Sully, played by Mark Rylance), Maren and Lee try to appreciate any quiet, beautiful moment they can rob from the unfair world.
Smartly adapted by Guadagnino and David Kajganich from Camilla DeAngelis’s novel of the same name, and deliciously anchored by impressive newcomer Taylor Russell, Bones and All is both a feast of the eyes, a stirring of the senses, and a showcase for an entire credit block – in particular, composer Trent Reznor, whose score shines like an glistening profusion of Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks : Fire Walk With Me score and the musician’s own Girl With the Dragon Tattoo score.
Aside from being vastly original, Guadagnino and Kajganich‘s libretto is equally compelling and twisted, without bordering on the ridiculous or overwrought. Coupled with direction, it’s film Valhalla for lovers of horror, fine art, and segments that fall on either side.
While Russell’s long-suffering, flesh-salivating heroine will draw most views here, she’s backed by two always-dependable thesps in Chalamet (Dune, Little Women), playing her devoted suitor, and Rylance (Bridge of Spies, Dunkirk), as one of the decade’s strangest and most frightening movie monsters.
There’s a lot going on above and beneath the surface of Bones and All, and you’ll be sure to be gnawing on its tasty marrow long afterward.
Bones and All screened at the 2022 AFI Film Festival, Los Angeles.