The heart is a powerful thing. And a tasty organ. So it goes in Bones and All, an odd romantic drama cannibal thriller that is constantly scrumptious if not entirely satiating.
The movie follows 18-year-old Maren (Taylor Russell) as she discovers she has a fondness for a certain kind of meat. She flees and soon encounters another cannibal (Mark Rylance) who informs her that there are other “eaters” like them, that they can smell each other, and that they need to feast on human flesh from time to time to keep their urges under control. She then meets a younger, less creepy cannibal (Timothée Chalamet) and the two bond over their… fine dining preferences.
Bones and All is a movie where I loved the world envisioned by director Luca Guadagnino (based on a screenplay by David Kajganich, which is based on the book by Camille DeAngelis) more than the actual story. But this world, not so different from our own and yet with a fleshier underside, is so good, so interesting, that it makes up for the somewhat smallish tale at hand.
Director Luca Guadagnino (Call Me By Your Name) adequately blends genres, creating a semi-unique tone that keeps your blood pumping and your brain guessing. But it works better as a cannibal film than a romance, despite the romantic drama playing a pivotal role.
The movie never really establishes why the two lovebirds are drawn together aside from convenience; while both actors are fine on their own, their chemistry isn’t electric. All in all, as good as Bones and All is at times, the characters nor their relationship feel majorly threatened at any given point—or put more bluntly, I didn’t really care enough about either or both of them.
Even still, I was impressed by Russell, who plays her part especially well. Chalamet also does a good job, though at times I couldn’t tell if his character was supposed to look and act like a meth addict (I’m pretty sure the answer is no). And then there is Rylance, an actor I’ve never loved all that much despite the critical acclaim he has received; he’s excellent here, playing one of the creepiest and frightening antagonists in recent memory. In fact, the tepid romantic stuff comes at the sacrifice of more time with Rylance—time that not only would have been welcomed but would have also sharpened the teeth of the movie itself.
There is a lot to like here. Bones and All keeps you guessing; the story purposefully meanders, keeping its endgame out of sight. There are some great scenes scattered throughout. The movie simply needed more bite.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.