Bones and All: Not Your Typical Road Film (Blu-ray)
Writer/director Luca Guadagnino has been around for quite a while now, having made a multitude of shorts and a few well-received films like "I Am Love" and "A Bigger Splash," but many likely didn't learn of him until his 2017 hit "Call Me by Your Name," which received an impressive four Oscar nominations that included one for Best Picture (and a win for James Ivory's Adapted Screenplay). Indeed, the film did put him on more peoples' radars, and while his follow-up, a somewhat misguided remake of "Suspiria," received a mixed reception, that didn't douse anticipation for his next narrative feature, which reunites him with his Oscar-nominated star Timothee Chalamet. This brings us to "Bones and All," an adaptation of the Camille DeAngelis novel, which just might not be the kind of film you think it is.
Taking place in the '80s, we meet young Maren Yearly (Taylor Russell), a teenager who decides to sneak out of her home to attend a sleepover, where a surprising & disturbing event takes place. Because of this, she and her father are forced to relocate themselves, with the latter abandoning her shortly after her 18th birthday, leaving her with little more than her birth certificate and a taped message in which he tries to explain the situation.
Maren decides to attempt to track down her mother in Minnesota, where she first meets a very odd man named Sully (Mark Rylance), who, as it turns out, is very much like her. Sully wants the two of them to pair up, but Maren decides to run away instead, eventually meeting Lee (Timothee Chalamet), a young man who is also like her. Together they embark on a cross-country trip to find Maren's mother, during which their relationship starts to bloom.
I've intentionally left the synopsis a little vague because this is one of those films where it's best not to know too much beforehand so that it has a chance to surprise you. It was most unfortunate (and rather shameful) to see most of the other critics openly spoil what happens in the film before others had a chance to see it and discover it for themselves, but perhaps they found it too difficult to discuss without doing so.
"Bones and All" is basically an atypical, but rather intriguing, road film that has the main couple looking for Maren's mother, falling in love, and dealing with certain complications along the way. The film is a little slow as they go on their journey, as most road films seem to be (they tend not to be in a rush to get anywhere), and yet, it still manages to stay mostly engaging throughout its somewhat lengthy 130-minute runtime, thanks in no small part to some captivating performances from Taylor Russell and Timothee Chalamet (and an extra creepy Mark Rylance).
The only somewhat nagging complaint is that I wish they had done a little more with the film's underlying premise. The road trip angle works just fine, as does the relationship between Maren and Lee, but the certain complications they face along the way end up feeling a little like an inconvenience that could've been delved into a little more. That said, David Kajganich's screenplay does a fine job of balancing the various elements at hand, even though there was room to explore some of those elements a little more.
Overall, "Bones and All" is a very strange little film, but as mentioned, it's probably not the kind of film you think it is, packing some intriguing surprises that grab you near the start and keep you hanging on until the end. It can be a little slow as the journey plays out, but it's one of those films where you become invested in the characters, and you end up wanting to know where they'll end up, ultimately making this a very worthwhile experience.
"Bones and All" comes to Blu-ray in a 1.85:1, 1080p High Definition transfer of excellent quality. In typical Warner Bros. fashion, the picture is beautifully sharp throughout, even in the darkest of scenes. Likewise, the Dolby Atmos-TrueHD audio track is fantastic, giving you all of the dialogue, as well as Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross's score, in outstanding quality. Overall, you get a great experience in both departments.
A Look Inside (2 Minutes)
Luca Guadagnino: The Vision of Bones and All (2 Minutes)
Meet Lee (2 Minutes)
Meet Maren (2 Minutes)
Outsiders in Love (2 Minutes)
Unfortunately these are all very short, shallow featurettes that merely offer quick sound bites about the film from its stars and director.
Luca Guadagnino's "Bones and All" is a rather odd little road film, and can be a little slow as its characters go on their journey, but thanks to its intriguing premise and a pair of captivating performances from Taylor Russell and Timothee Chalamet, this becomes a trip ultimately worth taking.
Available on Blu-ray starting tomorrow.
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