Bones And All: The must-see romantic cannibal road movie of the year featuring music by Trent Reznor and Kiss

Blood, guts and heartache as Timothée Chalamet noms on human flesh in, like, a sensitive way

Timothée Chalamet and Taylor Russell in Bones and All (2022)
(Image: © Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures)

Louder Verdict

Moving, disturbing, romantic, nihilistic: Luca Guadagnino’s movie is a fresh take on a classic movie tale.


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    Amazing performances, including a stand-out lead from Taylor Russell and a creepy-af supporting role from Mark Rylance.


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    Possibly not a first-date movie.

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Maren (Taylor Russell) and Lee (Timothée Chalamet) are “eaters’, born with an affliction that compels them to eat human flesh. But, hey, don’t go jumping to conclusions: they're not crazed beasts or mindless zombies, jumping on everyone they see – they’re nice cannibals. Their appetites are not quite uncontrollable and they feel bad, dude. They're victims of their own biology, wrestling with the moral dilemmas that come with chomping on old folk, or killing to feed their habit, and the outsider lifestyle that they’re forced into as a result. 

From this weird premise, against all the odds, Luca Guadagnino’s movie is horrific, weirdly moving and sometimes funny. 

A few years ago the filmmaker Walter Hill talked about a story-telling trick he lived by: you should always tell a new story in an old way, he said, and an old story in a new way. In many ways, Bones And All is a really old story: star-crossed lovers on the run, forced to live on the edge of society. It could easily have been a vampire movie like Near Dark, Kathryn Bigelow’s brilliant 1987 debut. But it would’ve, like, sucked. We’re used to vampire stories and, post-Twilight, the romantic vampire story feels played out.

It could have been about drug addicts (like Drugstore Cowboy, Gus Van Sant’s 1989 movie starring Matt Dillon about chemist-robbing junkies who prowl the US) or murderers (like, say, Bonnie and Clyde, 1967, Badlands, 1973, or Natural Born Killers, 1994).

Bones And All has a lot in common with all of those movies, as well as with Nomadland, The Florida Project, American Honey, more recent films about people on the fringes of American society, hanging on by their fingertips to survive. But this time, those people are cannibals – conflicted, traumatized cannibals  – and that twist makes it fresh. Not a straight-up horror movie, it prowls the fringes of dirty realism, black comedy and serial killer thriller without ever settling for any of them.

If it sounds vaguely ridiculous, the performances are astonishing. Chalamet you know, but Russell is the movie’s star. Mark Rylance and Michael Stuhlbarg turn in creepy-AF turns as fellow eaters considerably more at ease with the idea of killing their meals. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross’ soundtrack swells with romance and pulses with stomach-churning unease. And a scene in which Chalamet discovers Kiss’s Lick It Up album in the collection of one of their, er, dinners – and dances around the room to it – is a great piece of tension-cutting relief. 

Chalamet says the scene itself turned him on to hair metal.  “I didn’t grow up in that era, so I’ll piss a lot of people off by saying that I fully get it,” he told the Toronto Sun. “But I’ve done a deep dive on stadium rock or hair rock ’n’ roll. It started with this movie, and then it continued. 

“I was at a bar in New York in the spring and on the jukebox there was a bunch of Bob Dylan that I was playing and then somebody was disgruntled about it and they went over to and proclaimed, ‘It’s time for some Mötley Crüe!’ Now I’m a Mötley Crüe fan.”

Now that's properly horrific.

Scott Rowley
Content Director, Music

Scott is the Content Director of Music at Future plc, responsible for the editorial strategy of online and print brands like Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog, Guitarist, Guitar World, Guitar Player, Total Guitar etc. He was Editor in Chief of Classic Rock magazine for 10 years and Editor of Total Guitar for 4 years and has contributed to The Big Issue, Esquire and more. Scott wrote chapters for two of legendary sleeve designer Storm Thorgerson's books (For The Love Of Vinyl, 2009, and Gathering Storm, 2015). He regularly appears on Classic Rock’s podcast, The 20 Million Club, and was the writer/researcher on 2017’s Mick Ronson documentary Beside Bowie