Thursday, June 20, 2024

Review: Timothee Chalamet Bites Off More than He Can Chew in Utterly Disgusting “Bones and All”


Just because you have good actors in a movie doesn’t mean you’ve made a good movie. Alas, that’s the problem Luca Guadagnino’s “Bones and All,” a movie about real cannibals who go around eating people, graphically, on screen.

Guadagnino has assembled an excellent cast in Timothee Chalamet, Mark Rylance and newcomer Taylor Russell, not to mention Andre Holland and Jessica Harper. “Bones and All” could be considered a film about rebellious teens in love who go on the road for adventure. And for some stretches, that’s what it is, a romantic idyll as the kids find things in common and fall in love. Ah, young love.

Except for one thing: “Bones and All” is gory and disgusting, utterly repulsive. It’s a horror movie, a literary one I guess but a horror movie nevertheless. (It is certainly not an Oscar movie. So rid yourself of that idea right now.)

Russell’s Maren (she reminds me a lot of Zendaya) discovers at 18 that she really is a cannibal when she tried to devour a school friend during a sleepover. Her father (Andre Holland) hustles her out of town but dumps her, as her mother once did, because he can’t deal with it.

Maren meets Sully, played by Mark Rylance with a Southern drawl. He smells her, they are two of a kind. He provides instruction in the ways of Eaters. But Maren is off to find her lost mother, and meets Lee (Chalamet) a likewise soul. They go on a dining journey unlike anything you’ll find in Zagat, devouring new friends one by one. There is blood on the tracks, on their faces, clothes everywhere. A lot of this film you have to watch with hands in front of your face.

Rylance makes a meal of the whole thing and chews the scenery, among other things. There is gristle everywhere. They all reminded me of my very fat landlord who years ago used to sit on my stoop with chicken bones in his greasy beard after eating a cooked chicken from the corner deli. This movie is no less pleasant than that memory.

Guadagnino may have a point, but I don’t what it is, nor care to. The movie is outlandishly disgusting. You can’t recommend it to anyone. The director is skilled, so the production is not the issue. I wish he applied himself to something more savory. Chalamet is a good young actor who’s getting better with each film. Rylance is, of course, the best at what he does. (He takes apart an older woman whose house he breaks into like a pro, keeping her head as a souvenir.) Russell is a welcome newcomer. But I can’t imagine anyone in their right mind paying $20 or $40 to see this without immediately asking for their money back — unless, of course, extreme psychological horror is your preferred dish.

PS This is not the movie to see after a big Thanksgiving dinner.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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