The following review was written by Ultimate Rabbit correspondent, Tony Farinella.
“Bones and All” is a film I must admit I was not familiar with until I heard of its upcoming release on Blu-ray. After hearing about its premise and the actors involved, I was immediately interested in checking it out. It is an intimate little film which is unique in the way it tells its love story, and it’s filled with great performances and beautiful scenery. We live in a cinematic world where it’s all too commonplace for a film to be a remake, a sequel, or a copy of another film. It is something to admire when a project like “Bones and All” comes along and decides to take an ambitious and outside-the-box approach on young love and mix it with cannibalism. Director Luca Guadagnino (“Call Me by Your Name” and the “Suspiria” remake) is always on the cutting-edge of filmmaking.
The film opens by introducing us to Maren, played by the immensely talented Taylor Russell. Russell has an incredibly expressive face throughout the course of this movie, and she plays this part just right as she balances the vulnerability of Maren along with the inner strength she has been forced to possess because of her situation in life. Her father keeps her under lock and key and for good reason: she is an eater. He never knows when she might decide to eat someone. She first did it to her babysitter when she was younger, and it was something which caused her mother to pull away from her. We find out why later in the film.
Maren’s father is played by André Holland, and he makes the most out of his limited screen time. However, this is really the story of Maren and, later, of Maren and Lee, played by Timothée Chalamet. While on her journey to discover more information about her mother and why she left her and her father, Maren meets Lee in Kentucky. Lee is charming, charismatic, and an eater. For the most part, eaters do not eat other eaters, but they can smell when someone is an eater. The reason they meet is because Maren’s father decided there is nothing else he can do to protect his daughter. He has done all he can for her, and she’s become a threat to anyone she encounters even though she’s very nice, shy, and soft-spoken.
Along the way, the bond between Maren and Lee grows even stronger. This is the first time she has really been outside the house this much and been allowed to interact with people around her age. She likes him, and he likes her. They try to follow a moral code when it comes to the individuals they eat, but they do not always know their backstories, which can sometimes lead to Maren feeling like she’s a bad person. Lee is more experienced in this field and, because of this, he knows he needs to do whatever is necessary to survive.
There is also an older eater named Sully (Mark Rylance) whom Maren runs into earlier in the film. He seems to mean well, but Lee is not exactly sure what to make of him because of the age difference and his overall demeanor. Maren tries to distance herself from Sully, but he seems to be around the corner at every turn. Is he just a harmless old man? Is he a threat to her and possibly Lee? I was fascinated by the cannibalism angle of this film, as it does not really make a judgement on the characters. Cannibalism is part of them, but they are seen as human beings and not monsters. They are trying to live with it as best as they can and forge meaningful friendships and relationships.
“Bones and All” is one of those under-the-radar gems which is shot in such a naturalistic way by Guadagnino . It really allows the audience to spend time with the main characters, get to know, understand and feel for them. The love story between Chalamet and Russell is the lifeblood of this film. It is what makes this film tick. Both on their own and together, they make movie magic on screen. They have strong chemistry from the moment they meet each other, and it only increases as they are put together in various scenarios. Rylance does a fantastic job of keeping the audience guessing as we are left to figure out what his true intentions are with Maren.
This film is truly a journey with its running time of 131 minutes. At certain points, it can lag a little bit and feel a bit disjointed. During other scenes, the pacing is exactly right as it allows things to breathe and have time to resonate with the audience. The more and more I thought about “Bones and All,” the more I liked it. It is not perfect, but the things which work, such as the relationship between the main characters, the gorgeous cinematography and direction are top notch. This is a unique film that packs a powerful punch and is worth seeking out.
* * * ½ out of * * * *
Blu-ray Info: “Bones and All” is being released on a single-disc Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment. The film is rated R for strong, bloody and disturbing violent content, language throughout, some sexual content, and brief graphic nudity. It has a running time of 131 minutes, and it also comes with a digital copy of the film as well.
Video/Audio Info: I really wish this film would have received a 4K release, as it’s a film shot with such scope and beauty. I am a 4K guy and am always going to prefer a 4K release. The Blu-ray, however, is still pretty good, picture-wise. It comes in 1080p High Definition. For the audio, we got a Dolby Atmos track which is really impressive. Subtitles are in English, French and Spanish.
A Look Inside
Luca Guadagnino: The Vision of Bones and All
Outsiders in Love
Should You Buy It?
As a firm believer in physical media and independent cinema, I think this is a film worth adding to your collection. Sadly, the special features are noticeably short as they run around two minutes or less. I would have enjoyed a little more detail with them. However, with a film like this, maybe less is more as it allows the audience to come up with their own conclusions as it pertains to how they feel about the film. I am also disappointed about the lack of a 4K release as it would have looked perfect in that ultra-high definition format. The Blu-ray looks good, but a 4K of “Bones and All” would have been stunning. As far as the film itself, if you are like me and enjoy being challenged by a unique story with powerful performances and great cinematography, you will find a lot to like with here. As of right now, the film is going for $27.99, which is a bit pricey for a Blu-ray. If that were the price for the 4K, I would say you should buy it immediately. As it stands, you should buy it, but I would wait for the price to drop.
**Disclaimer** I received a copy of this film from Warner Brothers to review for free. The opinions and statements in the review are mine and mine alone.