Raw: There Will Be Blood 

Thinking of becoming a veterinarian? Think again.

click to enlarge raw_44_pb120029_rgb.jpg
Garance Marillier reconsiders her diet in Raw.

A young French woman goes to a college of veterinary medicine and becomes a cannibal. Hmm, sounds promising. It gets better: The young woman, in common with the rest of her family, is a confirmed vegetarian. That’s the setup for Julia Ducournau’s Raw, and we wish the movie had lived up to its potential. But it does make a few, uh, stabs in the right direction.

Justine — played with a fetching sense of wounded innocence by Garance Marillier — runs into an over-the-top amount of old-boy-and-girl hazing toward the “rookies” at the animal-doctor school – most of it involving animal body parts and frenzied alcohol consumption. Luckily she has her older sister Alex (Ella Rumpf) and a friendly bisexual guy named Adrien (Rabah Naït Oufella) to fall back on. Or maybe not so luckily. Justine develops an ugly skin rash, after which she starts to get a strange craving for red meat. The girl can’t help it.Writer-director Ducournau lays on the gross-out imagery thickly. The “Brazilian bikini” depilatory scene calls for a squeamish alert. Body-shaming and party-time brutality run rampant.

Inside this lurid wrapper is a fittingly un-subtle suggestion that eating the bodies of other living creatures is a bad idea. For that, Ducournau earns full marks. Otherwise it’s the shocker-topper game of escalating grotesquery in the service of a fairly routine coming-of-age yarn – with a twist. Ducournau’s school-days guignol, with all its faults, is still more intelligent and provocative than ninety percent of the junk out there – pretty much what we’d expect from the feature debut of the maker of a short called It’s Not a Cowboy Movie, in which French teenagers discuss Brokeback Mountain.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Readers also liked…

Latest in Movie Review

Author Archives

Most Popular Stories

Special Reports

Fall Arts 2017

Our Picks for the Best Events of the Fall Arts Season

The Queer & Trans Issue 2017

Stories about creating safe spaces in the Queer and Trans community.

© 2017 East Bay Express    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation