Plot: What’s it about?
Now here’s an interesting concept for a film – cannibals. Yes, you read that correctly. In the days of remakes and super heroes we’ve got a truly original film. Based on the Camille DeAngelis novel this is not at all what I was expecting. Then again, considering that Luca Guadagnino directed it, it’s not that surprising. The acclaimed director made waves with the Oscar-nominated Call Me By Your Name, but has also helmed two truly original films with Suspiria and A Bigger Splash. Viewing any of these is time well-spent (though none are what I’d consider short). And let me come out and say that if watching a movie about cannibalism isn’t your thing, then you might want to steer clear. It’s depicted, sometimes very graphically, in this film. If that whets your whistle, then you’ve got 131 of movie-watching bliss in front of you.
We meet Maren (Taylor Russell), an 18 year-old high school student who also happens to be an “eater” (read: a cannibal). After taking a bite out of someone her father (Andre Holland) takes her to a new town where he subsequently abandons her. He leaves her with her birth certificate and some cash. Maren, seeing her mother’s name on her birth certificate, hops on a bus to see if she can find her long lost mother. This puts her in contact with some other “eaters”, notably Sully (Mark Rylance), a somewhat decent guy who happens to throw off some creepy vibes. He teaches her the art of “smelling food.” Later she meets Lee (Timothee Chalamet), someone like her who has also fled home due to his cannibalism. He agrees to help her in her search. It’s not long after the two meet that a romantic bond forms.
I’m sure that this film hit on some very sensitive topics. Watching a movie about cannibals (and I can’t seem to think of one off the top of my head other than The Donner Party) is certainly not something that people will want to do. And, therefore, I can see why this movie missed the mark commercially, but it was a hit with the critics. The cast, of course, is the key to the film’s appeal. both Taylor Russell and Timothee Chalamet deliver top notch performances with Mark Rylance offering a bit of, well, his particular style of acting (I tend to think he plays the same character in every movie). Nevertheless, if you’re looking for something different then look no further. Bon appetit.
Video: How’s it look?
Visually this looks about as we’d expect it to. It leaves a little bit to the imagination and that’s a bit strange considering that it’s brand new to Blu-ray. Fox usually does a fine job with the 1.85:1 AVC HD transfer, although the colors don’t pop quite as much as I’d expected. The palette used is a bit on the desaturated side and this does give way to some rosy-ness in regards to the flesh tones. Contrast is strong and detail level is consistent with most any new movie. I doubt people will find much to complain about, the movie looks perfectly acceptable, just not as “acceptable” as I’d have thought.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The Dolby Atmos soundtrack actually has some pretty decent moments, but they’re few and far between. Granted there are a few moments of glory and, yeah, this is a romance movie and that’s not the way things work. Dialogue is very sharp and strong and though the LFE does stretch its legs a few times, most of the action is relegated to the front stage. Like the video, the audio isn’t anything earth shaking, but it won’t disappoint either.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- A Look Inside – A talking heads featurette with the three stars of the movie that’s somewhat summarized in this feature.
- Luca Guadagnino: The Vision of Bones and All – The director regales us as to what led him to the script, some information about the shoot and so forth.
- Meet Lee – We get to learn a bit more about Chalamet’s character “Lee”.
- Meet Maren – Essentially the exact same as above, only it’s with “Maren.”
- Outsiders in Love – Essentially, the same as the first segment but at under 2 minutes, it’s hard to fit a lot of information in there. I’m not sure how this qualifies as an extra.
The Bottom Line
While this might not be for the masses, it can show that with good source material, a talented cast and a competent director even a movie about cannibalism can be intriguing. For me, however, if I’m going to watch a film about people getting eaten I’ll stick with Dawn of the Dead. Warner’s disc looks and sounds great (thanks to the included Dolby Atmos soundtrack).