Sunday, July 2, 2017

Movie Review: "Raw" (2016)

Director: Julia Ducournau
Year: 2016
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 39 minutes

A young vegetarian is forced to eat a raw rabbit kidney during a hazing ritual at her veterinary school. From then on, she starts to develop an insatiable hunger for meat of all kinds.

"Raw" is a French-Belgian dramatic horror film written and directed by Julia Ducournau. As a director, she has made some made-for-TV projects and directed some short films, and this is her feature film debut. It stars Garance Marillier as a young vegetarian named Justine, who is about to begin classes at a veterinary college. During the first week of school, all new students are forced to undergo various hazing rituals, one of which includes eating a raw rabbit kidney. Justine protests at first, citing her principles as a vegetarian, but is pressured by her older sister Alexia, played by Ella Rumpf, who also attends the school, to eat it and be part of the "fun." Justine complies, and a short time later, she starts to develop an insatiable hunger for meat, especially raw meat, a habit that very quickly spirals out of hand and manifests itself in ways she never imagined.

There has been a lot of buzz around "Raw" for quite some time. It ran the festival circuit, and there had been rumors of audience members fainting and having to run to the bathroom to vomit because of what they saw playing out on screen. To us, that meant we absolutely had to see this picture. Unfortunately, it never hit any theaters around our local area, so we were forced to wait for it on video on demand. The day has finally come.

While "Raw" isn't as terribly gross as we assumed it might be, and while we never got fully nauseous or felt faint from what we witnessed, it is still pretty disturbing and even downright disgusting at times. For us, this isn't a bad thing as long as it's executed well and meaningfully. Luckily, this is a well written, completely engaging movie. We found ourselves engrossed by the story, which walks a fine line between being a coming-of-age drama and a cannibal horror film. A young woman off on her own for the first time experiments with new things, has new experiences, and learns who she truly is. She has to balance being in school with her controlling sister, going to parties, being in love/lust with someone who isn't into her, drama, and now, her unquenchable appetite for sustenance that she ain't gettin' from carrots and lettuce. This is a story that has been told time and time again in some form or another, it just turns out who Justine truly is is an absolutely fucking terrifying person.

A sibling rivalry is also added between Justine, the studious "good girl" who has a lot to learn and explore in the span of a week's worth of school and hazing, and Alexia, who is much more rebellious, overbearing, and hovering. The two sisters are, in many ways, polar opposites, and in other ways, they are unbelievably similar. They often clash over many inconsequential things, but deep down, they love each other and look out for one another. Garance Marillier and Ella Rumpf both give wonderful performances in their respective roles as combative yet understanding sisters. Also, this is a fantastic jumping off point for director Julia Ducournau, and "Raw" certainly got us interested to see what she may have to offer in the future.

"Raw" can be disgustingly riveting at times, and it can also be beautiful in some strange, messed up way. It has a very artistic vibe in its color scheme and execution. It parallels what a drug addict might go through waiting for their next fix, only taken to a cannibalistic degree. We feel the need to add that this movie isn't for everyone, particularly for those who are squeamish at graphically violent or unsettling imagery. If this describes you, you may want to steer clear of this picture. For anyone else, especially for fans of well-made, off the beaten path types of horror flicks, this is a title you must check out for yourself.

My Rating: 9/10
BigJ's Rating: 8.5/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 91%
Do we recommend this movie: ABSOLUTELY YES!!!

1 comment:

  1. So far my favorite film of the year, so glad my theater got it and I found time to see it, absolutely love everything about this film 10/10 ~son