Sjourney the flesh from the bones of the newest movie by Luca Guadagnino and the skeletal story framework is a well-known one: it’s an outlaw lovers highway film, sharing DNA with dustbowl odysseys corresponding to Badlands and Bonnie and Clyde. The backdrop for Bones and All is the Eighties, nevertheless it echoes the poor-eat-poor urgency of these different footage, the poetic desperation of lovely, rootless drifters taking what they should survive. What units this movie aside, nonetheless, is the very fact Maren (a magnetic Taylor Russell) and Lee (Timothée Chalamet) are “eaters”. Their survival is determined by common cannibalistic binges.
Guadagnino doesn’t draw back from the visceral shock of their unspeakable impulses: each Maren and Lee spend a lot of the time smeared within the congealing blood of their victims. And the act of feeding – tearing with tooth, face deep within the flesh of one other human – is feral, animalistic and shameful. There’s a palpable risk, too, within the fellow “eaters” they encounter: Mark Rylance’s lip-smackingly grotesque efficiency as creepy loner Sully is especially notable. However there’s additionally humour right here – Maren’s realisation of her true nature comes at a disastrous slumber celebration – and crucially, there’s an actual emotional weight.
In a means, the movie is a distillation of themes from Guadagnino’s earlier work. The intertwining of meals and erotic appetites hyperlinks again to I Am Love; the achingly romantic yearnings of old flame (and in Chalamet and Michael Stuhlbarg, two forged members) are shared with Name Me By Your Title; the lurid style impulses present the bloody fingerprints of Suspiria. However within the elegant steadiness of those seemingly incongruous parts, Guadagnino has outdone himself.