BONES AND ALL: Guadagnino's Blood Soaked Romance Comes to Blu-Ray
Bones and All, the newest film from acclaimed filmmaker Luca Guadagnino, focuses on two cannibal drifters in their pursuit of love and freedom. More specifically, this is a film about two young people forced into an eternal bond after realizing they share the same secret: an insatiable reliance on human flesh. It’s described as a rare condition, which forces our two leads to leave their homes in search of a sustainable and “normal” life. The pursuit of the American dream here is familiar, but this story comes from an immigrant filmmaker who has carved out his own impressionistic vision of America and finding your place somewhere other than “home”. Guadagnino, an Italian born filmmaker, has lived in many different places over the years, but has made a career out of working with Hollywood’s best on an eclectic set of films. Often focusing on messy emotions and the difficulties of young love, Guadagnino’s films have touched on some recognizable themes, but the rebellious director has made it very clear that he refuses to be classified, constantly shifting the tone of his work to keep viewers on their toes. This film, which on a visual level may remind viewers of some of his other love stories, blends in the incredible horror aspects seen in his previous feature, 2018’s remake of Suspiria; a turn that, by all accounts, came as a bit of a shock, but still swept audiences. As a lover of Guadagnino’s films, I’m deeply enamored with the unpredictability of his filmography. This commitment to subversion ensures that whatever you see will be unique and thought provoking. It's a thrill that so many films of today lack. For this one, Guadagnino employs so many directorial decisions that are wholly ambitious and contribute immensely to the original feel of this film. These decisions don’t always pay off, but I couldn’t help but applaud Guadagnino for not only crafting his own style, but for constantly challenging viewers both thematically and visually.
In this case, these challenges manifest themselves in the contrast between horrific acts of violence and the sprawling mid-western American landscape. There’s beautiful romance in battle with unavoidable brutality. This balance opens the door for countless different interpretations, making this film a joy to discuss. From a purely visual standpoint, it’s quite remarkable how Guadagnino, an Italian filmmaker, has managed to capture American landscapes so elegantly. With incredible accuracy and attention to detail, Guadagnino has invoked the sensitive stylings of a Terrence Malick or a Gus Van Sant, two of the most celebrated American filmmakers. The portrait being crafted here is not just one of romance or familial drama, but also of two vagabonds hitting the road in search of their slice of the “American Dream”. Sprinkled in is some expertly used gore, a deviously creepy outing from Mark Rylance, and two wonderfully understated performances from Taylor Russell, and Timothée Chalamet (the latter of which earned an Oscar nomination for his previous work with Guadagnino on Call Me by Your Name). There’s lots of moving pieces in this film but Guadagnino ensures that the focus is always on our two leads, bringing the viewer into their heartbreaking struggles.
Digesting this film proved to be difficult for some, but open-minded viewers will certainly be rewarded with a film that feels both deeply familiar and entirely groundbreaking. It’s a tale as old as time that feels both poignant and pressing. Regardless of how you feel about the final product, Bones and All is bold enough to leave a lasting impression on every viewer. As Guadagnino remains vocal about his fight against your perception of him, his career only becomes more fascinating and even if this one isn’t your cup of tea, true lovers of cinema will still be waiting anxiously for his next offering.
As Bones and All arrives on Blu-Ray, fans of the film can enhance their experience by diving into the character featurettes and discussions with Luca and the rest of the cast.
Bones and All is available now on VOD and on Blu-Ray wherever movies are sold.