Unique and original take on themes of cannibalism and self discovery
The new cannibalistic French film now on Netflix, “Raw”, has been creating a large amount of buzz ever since it was shown at several film festivals earlier this year.
Supposedly, some early viewers of the film passed out due to the extreme nature of the film. This fact got various filmgoers, including myself, extremely intrigued by the movie.
I cannot stress enough that “Raw” is not a film for the faint of heart. Its themes are very mature and even somewhat disturbing. It is not that the movie is necessarily gorier or more violent than other films, but it is primarily just absurdly bizarre and surreal.
Most mainstream audiences will be repeatedly asking themselves what they are watching during the majority of the 99-minute runtime.
Julia Ducournau makes her directorial debut with “Raw.” Ducournau made a film very few people could have made giving it a very unique aesthetic at the same time. While also the main writer of the movie, Ducournau proves that an overused and tired movie concept of cannibalism can be made fresh again by exploring dramatic themes throughout.
The story involves vegetarian Justine (Garance Mariller) as she begins school at a veterinary college in which her parents also went to.
The college is notorious for partying and hazing the new students as Justine quickly experiences on her first day.
On her first night at the college at her first party, Justine runs into her older sister Alexia (Ella Rumpf), who is also a student at the college. In the newest hazing activity, Justine is forced by the older students to eat a raw rabbit kidney. She immediately refuses since she and her family are strict vegetarians. Alexia insists that Justine eats it if she wants to fit in and be accepted.
Against her will, Justine eats the kidney and in the following days begins to acquire an irresistible desire for meat and a horrible rash.
The situation seems to escalate even more the following week. One night Justine and Alexia are hanging out after having a couple drinks when Alexia cuts off her middle finger in a freak accident involving scissors.
Alexia passes out and Justine grabs the decapitated finger to put in the fridge so it can be reattached. Before she can do so Justine gets the sudden unbidden urge to bite Alexia’s finger.
In the following scene, the average viewer will probably begin to ask themselves why they are watching this movie as Justine starts munching on Alexia’s finger like it’s a chicken wing.
The movie even gets stranger from then on as Justine starts to realize the secrets of herself and her family as she starts experiencing more changes especially involving her personality.
It may seem as if the rest of the movie is predictable, but in reality, it is anything but. One of the highest compliments I can give this movie is how original it is. It is a movie that observes many personal fears involving peer pressure, discovering oneself, and the changing body. In truth, it is literally a horror coming of age story.
The directing is outstanding. Ducournau films the scenes in a way where it is not violent, but more psychological. “Raw” is also shot in a way that is very reminiscent of classic horror movies particularly of the decade of the 70s.
The acting is also top notch mostly due to Mariller’s incredible and diverse performance that will leave the viewer actually concerned for the character’s physical and mental health.
Overall, I think this is a movie unlike any I’ve ever seen. It is a movie I can honestly say I will never forget.
At first, I didn’t think I liked it that much, but the more I think about it the more I appreciate it and want to watch again.
I cannot stress how utterly weird and crazy this movie is. Anyone who is interested I recommend that they watch the trailer first and determine if this is something they can handle.
If you can handle it, I very strongly recommend checking it out on Netflix.