HomeEntertainmentBones and All review “A tender tale of love and death”

Bones and All review “A tender tale of love and death”

Have you ever seen a film or TV show that you just can’t quite pin down? Something that feels fresh and unique but also tried and tested. Something that doesn’t conform to typical genre conventions but also knows when to use tropes and clichés effectively. Something that once you’ve seen it, your mind races trying to generalise what you’ve just seen. Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All is the epitome of a film that you can’t ‘pin down’.

Bones and All tells the story of two young soul-mates whose dark secret means they must live on the outskirts of society, travelling the American Midwest, discovering themselves and coming to terms with their traumatic past.

The way in which this 2022 Horror/Romance/Coming-of-Age tale effortlessly dips in-and-out of these vastly different genres, without feeling jarring or out of place, is a real credit to the Italian director and screenwriter David Kajganich. Moments of real emotional connection are effortlessly interspersed with flashes of graphic violence in a way that has rarely been seen.

I can recall many examples of movies trying to be one thing then completely switching gears to become something else, usually feeling tonally inconsistent with the rest of the film. However what Bones and All does is feel completely at home in all the above genres without leaning too heavily into either. It’s a delicate balancing act that Guadagnino and his cast and crew achieve with style.

Timothée Chalamet in Bones and All

In an attempt to generalise, Bones and All feels like a mash-up of two of Guadagnino’s most recent releases. It has the dark, gothic and gory genre stylings of the 2018 Suspiria remake but also the sensual, Coming-of-Age/Romance vibes of 2017’s Oscar Winning, Call Me by Your Name. However, it’s clear that Bones and All will not be for everyone. Glimpses of graphic bloody violence, a leisurely pace and a stylised visual aesthetic might put some off. I’ve heard Bones and All be rather flippantly referred to as ‘prestige Twilight’ and to be honest, they’re not entirely wrong!

The performances here are great across the board. Taylor Russell and Timothee Chalamet play the two young cannibal lovers in a nuanced and endearing manner, often conveying more through silence than dialogue. Although the film belongs to Mark Rylance’s Sully, an innately creepy drifter who appears throughout the film along with a couple other scene stealing characters, played by Michael Stuhlbarg and David Gordon Green, who provide a threatening presence in the film. However it’s Rylance’s performance that stands out from the rest. He becomes lost in the character and provides dark humour and dread when it’s needed most.

Lastly I’d like to give a special mention to the film’s score which perfectly accompanies many scenes and adds to the emotion of the film. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are well known for their cinematic musical exploits, but their work on Bones and All is special. Gentle guitar strings and folk/country infused rhythms capture the Americana feel of the film. Pieces of music that sound beautiful in one moment and dark and sinister in the next. It’s the perfect score to accompany such a beautifully sinister tale.

“There’s before bones and all and there’s after.”

A line that ultimately resonates hard as the credits roll on this tender tale of love and death. Bones and All won’t be for everyone but it’s hard to look past its delicate beauty and visceral violence. A genre mash up that only the most competent of filmmakers could achieve and one that will leave you pondering on its intentions and subtext for days. One of the more overlooked films of 2022.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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