Tag Archives: Mark Rylance

Fine Young Cannibals: “Bones and All” review

They’re just a couple of kids in love…who love eating other people

Bones and All
Starring Taylor Russell & Timothèe Chalamet
Directed by Luca Guadagnino
Rated R

See it: In theaters Wednesday, Nov. 11

Lee and Maren seem like a lot of young couples. They drive around, listen to music, have some tiffs with their parents. And when they grab a bite, well, it’s likely not from Chic-fil-A.  

You see, they’re cannibals. Yes, they eat people.

On one level, this insanely, savagely original young-love story is about a couple of outsiders in a harsh world that doesn’t understand or accept them. We can all relate to that, right?

What sets Maren and Lee apart, though, is the compulsion—the craving—they have for human flesh. It’s an acquired taste, we learn, one that’s rooted in both heredity and environment. They find out they’re not alone; they’re part of a gritty, grimy subset of other cannibals. They’re all outcasts, society rejects who refer to each other as “eaters.” The most, ahem, committed of eaters talk of going all in, dining on “bones and all.”

And Lee and Maren feel desperately fated, destined for a life that makes their road a rough, hardscrabble—and often horrific—one.

It’s a weird movie, crazily and often conversely beautiful and romantic, about two 1980s kids living outside the norms of convention—way outside. There’s blood and guts, as you might imagine, but that’s only one element of the bigger story, about a pair of ruggedly attractive castaways wrestling with who they are, and why. And Lee and Maren aren’t particularly happy about what they’re driven to do. But the rush it gives them—like a drug—is a hard habit to kick.

Taylor Russell (who played Judy Robinson in the Netflix reboot of the space sci-fi series Lost in Space) is Maren, abandoned by her father (Andre Holland) after she turns 18. On a quest to learn more about her family, particularly the mother she never knew, she hooks up with a lanky drifter (Timothèe Chalamet), and off they go in search of answers…and their next meal.  

The movie reunites Chalamet—who’s received acclaim (and awards nominations) for his work in Lady Bird, Little Women and Dune—with Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino, who directed him inCall Me by Your Name. Guadagnino is a “painterly” director, known for his lush visuals, and the movie even begins with a series of oil renderings depicting serene pastoral scenes that we’ll later see in the film. They “paint” the way for Lee and Maren’s journey, seeking some peace in their unsettled—and unsettling—lives, like the tranquility in those picture-perfect paintings. But they’ll always be outsiders looking in, hunted and haunted.

Rebels on a road trip—if James Dean had a copious amount of blood soaked into his white T-shirt, plus a quirk of dining on carnival workers in an Iowa cornfield, well, he might have fit right into this cannibal club.

It’s a wild ride, for sure. Mark Rylance (below right) is an older, creepy cannibal who teaches Maren how to use her nose to sniff out fresh food. Michael Stuhlbarg and David Gordon Green play a pair of odd-couple “eater” buddies. Chloë Sevigny has a shocker of a scene, as a patient in a mental institution.

Maren, especially, contemplates the larger complexities and the implications of feeding her eating habit. Even cows in a slaughterhouse, she notes, have family, and maybe even friends. She advocates no-kill meals, dining on people who have already died. It may sound like a small distinction, but hey, some cannibals have principles.

The movie doesn’t really have a message, as such. But its depiction of cannibalism as addiction, as fate, as a consumptive lifestyle “appetite” alongside other hungers, like sex, lust and love…well, let’s just say I’ll never hear “Lick It Up” the same way again after watching the way that rockin’ KISS hit animates Lee.

Riding a wave of film-festival praise, Bones and All gnaws its way into theaters the day before Thanksgiving. It’s probably not exactly what most people have in mind for a celebratory family feast. But if you’ve got an appetite for the unusual, the unsettling, and for a gutsy spin on being young, angst-ridden, adrift in America and in love, well, lick it up.

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Land of the Giant

Spielberg’s touching ‘BFG’ has big, friendly message

THE BFG

The BFG

Starring Mark Rylance & Ruby Barnhill

Directed by Steven Spielberg

PG

OMG, it’s a BFG!

Director Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of author Roald Dahl’s 1982 children’s book about a big, friendly giant—and the young orphan girl he befriends—comes to the big screen with humor, heart and a big, friendly message about the magical, mystical power of dreams.

Set in 1980s London, the movie wastes no time in establishing its tone or introducing its characters. We meet Sophie (newcomer Ruby Barnhill) just moments before she spies a giant in in the darkness outside her upstairs window. Seconds later, his massive hand reaches into her bedroom, sweeps her up and takes her away to Giant Country, far away from the city—and beyond the edges of any map.

Sophie, understandably, is concerned that she’s about to be eaten—but that’s not the case at all. This giant isn’t like the other giants. They eat people, but he doesn’t, subsisting wholly on a diet of foul-smelling vegetables called snozzcumbers.

The other, much bigger, much nastier giants bully the BFG.

The other, much bigger, much nastier giants bully the BFG.

At first, she tries to run away from the “big, friendly giant,” whom she calls BFG. But gradually, Sophie is charmed, especially as the kindly, introspective BFG hides and protects her from the much bigger, nastier giants—a gang of behemoth beasts with names like Bloodbottler, Butcherboy, Gizzardgumper and Meatdripper, who storm into his home, bully him and toss him about like a plaything.

nullShe learns BFG mispronounces and mangles words because he’s had no formal education, that he goes out at night to catch firefly-like “dreams” and then blows them into the sleeping heads of Londoners at night—and that he has a deep, sad secret. She finds out he had to take her away from the city because, he says, if anyone had found out she’d seen him, there would have been widespread panic about giants spread all over the “teletelebunkum box and the radiosqueaker.”

Spielberg, of course, is one of Hollywood’s leading storytellers, and Dahl (who died in 1990) was the marvelous British novelist who also wrote Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryJames and the Giant PeachMatilda and Fantastic Mr. Fox. In The BFG, Spielberg’s signature touches—spunky kid; misunderstood outsider; adults who slowly come around to understanding—fit perfectly into Dahl’s narrative, which combines lightness and whimsy with whirls of darkness and spikes of danger.

THE BFGMark Rylance, who won an Oscar earlier this year for his role in Bridge of Spies, is the long, lanky BFG, augmented by digital effects and motion-capture wizardry. His BFG face is a marvel—aged beyond years, alive with expression, ever guided by his gargantuan, oversize ears. He tells Sophie that he hears everything, from the spinning of spiders in the grass to the “singing” of the stars in the sky, and “all the wondrous and the terrible, secret whisperings of the world.”

In one of the movie’s best sequences, Sophie and BFG end up in Buckingham Palace, where they dine with the Queen of England (Penelope Wilton, who played Isobel Crawley on Downton Abbey) and her staff (which includes Rebecca Hall and Rafe Spall). There BFG toasts everyone with a concoction he calls frobscottle, a fizzy homemade drink with some immediate, hilariously explosive gastro-after-effects—BFG gleefully dubs them “whizpoppers”—that even send her majesty’s Corgis into uncontrollable comedic spinouts.

“He’s magnificent, your giant,” one of the queen’s men confides to Sophie.

As they treat the BFG like a BMOC and a VIP, you’ll have to agree: Yes he is!

—Neil Pond, Parade Magazine

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