“I’m sure you’ll find a solution”Review by Lewis Goodall
Raw is a French film (directed by Julia Ducournau) which tells the story of an innocent, top of the class student named Justine (played by Garance Marillier) who has started veterinary university. The tables turn as Justine starts to develop a craving for human flesh.
I’m finding it really hard to talk about this film because there is a lot going on but at the same time there isn’t.
So, as mentioned this is the story of Justine who has started university to become a vet. It’s her first week there and she must endure the initiation done by the seniors (or elders as they want to be called). Justine is a vegetarian, forced into that lifestyle by her family but this initiation process finds her having to go against her values and have blood poured on her like Carrie as a way to be welcomed to the school. Justine‘s sister (played by Ella Rumpf ) is one of the seniors there who helps motivate her to get through the week and forces her to do things she wouldn’t normally do to avoid looking like a whiny little biatch cause she won’t eat rabbit kidney. From then on this primal state awakens within Justine and the craving for meat increases to the point where she must find it in any which way possible.
This film has a very old school horror vibe to it which I was absolutely in love with; from the visuals, the way it was shot and the original music for the film. A personal preference would’ve been to include more of that music because it was so good and so fitting for the movie, but that’s just me. Carrie really springs to mind with this movie, its French Carrie on acid minus the Travolta (stick that on the poster for the film). From the dorky schoolgirl who can’t catch a break to the gradual build up to insanity. This build up or rather slope down was acted wonderfully by Garance Marillier, managing to show the degeneration of this character who is slowly losing herself to the cravings she’s having. Her youthful, spritely look is a total juxtaposition to the aggressive and harsh cannibalism in this film. The cannibalism is done tastefully and is genuinely off putting when you’re first introduced to it, of course for the way its presented but also seeing this once sweet girl now battling in her own mind between what she believes in and that being taken over by her feeling peckish. The symbolism and imagery in this film is enough of a recommendation in itself with the dream sequences of horses on treadmills to an under the covers thunderstorm really draws you into the mindset of the character.
Although I thoroughly enjoyed this meal it did come with it’s fair share of cold carrots as well. I felt that the character of the sister, although vital to the story and a good part, sometimes made decisions that didn’t quite make sense. Throughout the film there is a rivalry between the two which doesn’t seem as fleshed out as it should’ve been. To me it felt sometimes it was unnecessary what they were doing to each-other and the motive wasn’t totally clear all the time as to why they had this rivalry between them. Fair enough they are sisters but going from having a laugh on a rooftop, showing each-other how to wee standing up, to the sister humiliating Justine at a party in front of everyone just seemed to be thrown in; unless I missed something, it was weirdly paced their relationship.
I would also say even though a lot of the film was very out there and shocking, it also came with predictable moments where some characters you can decide their fate by the time you meat them.
This film is very much like a coming of 21 day age, medium rare steak that has bits of gristle mixed in. I suppose that’s the best way to describe the overall feeling I got from this movie. I loved a huge majority of the film but I just couldn’t help but wanting to add some things here and trim unnecessary fat there. I just really hoped they added more of the music, I really liked the music.