By Mark Fields

Maren (Taylor Russell), a troubled teenager abandoned by her father, takes to the road and meets Lee (Timothée Chalamet), a charismatic but enigmatic drifter in director Luca Guadagnino’s newest and most unsettling indie film, Bones and All. These two outcast from society share more than their estranged misery; they also share a horrifying appetite. Russell and Chalamet’s performances are strong, even compelling, as is that of Mark Rylance in a supporting role. The viewer is clearly meant to empathize with the central characters and their marginal existence, but the bond that undergirds their attraction to one another is so viscerally repellent that one struggles to genuinely connect to their plight. Guadagnino has made a cinematic career focused on story of the disenfranchised (A Bigger Splash, Call Me By Your Name, Suspiria). Perhaps there is a metaphor here that escaped me, but that too is a flaw. I left Bones and All not feeling enlightened or edified, but instead pondering what attracted this talented filmmaker and his accomplished cast to such disturbing, gory material.