Bones and All, with Timothée Chalamet, review

bones and all by Luca Guadagnino, former winner of Director’s Prize at the last Venice Film Festival, shows “to the bone”, as the title says, the dread of growing up, the painful and dysfunctional interweaving of family ties – never like “blood ties” in this work – the irrepressible need to love and be loved. A work that is at once a coming-of-age, a romantic and brutal love story, a poetic-political road movie (the idea of ​​setting it in Ronald Reagan’s American province of the 1980s, echoed on television and radio).

Adapted by Dave Kajganich from the novel of the same name by Camille DeAngelis (published in Italy by Mondadori), bones and all is the story of teenage Maren (Taylor Russell, Venice Best Young Actor Award) who lives with her father in a small Virginia town. However, when the girl’s dark fondness for human flesh resurfaces, he decides to leave her. Left alone, Maren obliges a journey through small town America, determined to find her mother, the only one who could perhaps explain the reason for its unique nature. Along the way, she discovers that there are other people like her, the disturbing Sully (Mark Rylance), and then Lee (Timothée Chalamet), a slightly older and more experienced tramp than she, with whom she develops a deep connection day by day.

In order to survive, Maren and Lee are forced to steal and sometimes kill, victims of their appetites. But they appear more drifters and unresolved teenagers than outlaws – remind us of the ingenuity of the two killers of the classic boy fury by Terrence Malick to whom it refers bones and all for certain atmospheres and the type of country that the film describes. Guadagnino avoids imaginative temptations, for him the cannibalism of the protagonists is an elementary fact, their fate inescapable, certainly mysterious and troublesome, but factual and unchanging.

The topic then, e.g a story that never flinches in the face of horroris the ability to accept one’s state, between attraction and rejection of what one is. Something that ideally renews itself bones and all to the previous miniseries directed by Guadagnino, We are who we are, which revolves around the identity of two teenagers. For this reason, the path of self-discovery for Maren can only lead through a confrontation with the roots and an encounter with the mother, which has a painful and alien connotation, reminiscent of another restless and different spirit, the Carl Trask played by James Dean no The Eden Valley. Intricately intertwined with the Bildungsroman, the other note that explodes in the heart bones and all it is desire, the intimate and unexpected passion that arises with another human being, in which sweetness and terror inevitably mix.

Aided by Arseni Khachaturan’s boring photography, which helps him recreate the 1980s so faithfully that they seem real, Guadagnino brings the best of his unusual talent to this film. in the bones and all There is the ability to X-ray the jerks of bodies, the overwhelming and electrifying outburst of emotions, whether it’s filming guys bathing in the river by jumping off a cliff, the slumber party with the girls confessing secrets sprawled under a glass table, the evenings at the amusement park It is a remote provincial village. Situations typical of 19th-century cinema that Guadagnino brings to life with a delicate touch, juxtaposing disturbing stares of horror that carve another truth at the bottom of apparent “normality”.

It is here bones and all raises some doubts. The film draws on familiar elements, namely that puberty is a difficult transitional period, with that all-encompassing hunger for life and love that suddenly inhabits, even overwhelms, a conflicting, all-encompassing and engulfing desire; Anything but linear and transparent, the relationship between parents and children is perceived as “the flesh of their own flesh”.

The point is that Guadagnino takes the physiological symbolism literally letting him explode didactically in the act of cannibalism, which draws out the uncomfortable, psychologically and socially unsettling of these tensions, but translates the constitutive ambiguity of desire and the uncertainties of identity into the all-too-exemplary simplicity of horror, onto which he grafts a desperate and pure Romance.

Like this bones and all always emits emotions at a very high temperature, be they of dislike or of love. Which shakes youthful hearts to the point of identification, but I think they’ll leave adult viewers looking for a clearer examination of the abysmal binomial “love and death” with a sense of perplexity and a sense of superficial effectism for what, perhaps Guadagnino, he was able to profitably review some of the films of his beloved Bernardo Bertolucci.

Adds a little frame from the eighties bones and all. You certainly don’t care i flimsy clues to the times by Reagan, which never really connects to the story of Maren and Lee (same thing happened in call me by your name, in which Craxis Italy remained mere scenery without ever interacting with the characters). Rather, the decade serves the director, born in the early seventies, to rediscover the cinema, the songs (Duran Duran), the objects (the Walkman with the pimping idea of ​​the cassette with his father’s last message) of the time. He was a child, which allowed him to tune into his protagonists’ teenage emotions even more easily. It’s a sentimental scene from the eighties, politics has nothing to do with it.

Chalamet’s character gets excited as he listens Lick it up, the first album recorded by Kiss, he emphasizes wearing no makeup. The trick is there, though, and can be seen to some extent in Guadagnino’s film. Because after the gallons of blood that has mixed like a sad and sublime mask on the hungry faces of its unfortunate boys has been cleaned up, what remains is a film in which, starting from dialogues that are not up to the task, the undisciplined, tormented love of the innocent protagonists unfolds part of the heart of darkness that the film wants to tell: “You protected the people you love.” – “Don’t you think I’m a terrible person?” – “I just think I love you”.


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