A personal shopper in Paris refuses to leave the city until she makes contact with her twin brother who previously died there. Her life becomes more complicated when a mysterious person contacts her via text message.
Justine is a first-year veterinary student. Her elder sister is studying the same course at the university. Justine was raised a strict vegetarian but, as part of the hazing rituals, is forced to eat meat. Initially this has adverse effects but she soon develops a craving for meat...particularly human flesh.Written by
Your mum was tough at first. Kept saying I was her best friend at school. It drove me nuts! It's not like she had a boyfriend. Just me. And then we had our first kiss. And I understood...
See more »
For her debut feature film, writer and director Julia Ducournau opted for the particularly taboo subject matter of cannibalism. It's a bold and admirable move, as if there's anything that gets audiences members up in arms and storming out of a movie theatre, it's the sight of a non-zombie human being chowing down on another of their kind. Making its way onto movie screens after a successful festival run, Raw arrives with both critical acclaim and a sense of notoriety, having apparently rendering festival-goers faint and puking in the aisles, to the point where the paramedics were called. As it usually the case with movies that have generated similar controversy, Raw really isn't that gruesome, and is in fact very careful and patient when delivering those squirm-in-your-seat moments.
The incredibly bright but socially awkward Justine (Garance Marillier) has been mollycoddled by her parents from a young age and raised a strict vegetarian. We meet her on her first day at veterinary school, following the same path as her parents before her, and that of her older sister Alexia (Ella Rumpf), who still attends. As she settles down for a quiet read at night, the dorm is invaded by older pupils who don balaclavas and proceed to trash the place, forcing Justine and her gay roommate Adrien (Rabah Nait Outfella), along with her fellow freshmen, into submissive behaviour before introducing them to a crazy rave. The rituals don't stop there, and the new starters must also spend a day drenched in animal blood and eat raw rabbit kidney. Of course, the eating of meat goes against Justine's beliefs, but she gobbles the kidney down after some guidance from her sister. This first taste of the forbidden seems to awaken something inside of the teenager, and she is soon covered in a nasty body rash and craving raw flesh.
Anyone reading the synopsis will likely assume this to be a story of a twisted college campus turning its pupils into blood-drinking monsters, but this is not the case. While the school is rather weird in its inauguration traditions, this is a far more personal story of sibling rivalry and sexual awakening. It could be labelled a feminist piece, but I believe its themes will be familiar to both sexes. Why these themes play out within a story of cannibalism, I don't quite know, but they provide the opportunity for some memorable set-pieces that reach Cronenbergian levels of body horror repulsiveness. The instinctive, almost absent-minded suck on the end of a severed finger will leave you open-mouthed, but Ducournau films the scene with such gravitas that it doesn't just disgust, but also represents the emergence of something primal and confusing within its protagonist. Marillier's youthful beauty and timid curiosity brings life to the character, and the actress puts herself through many difficult scenes that would have most actors turning their nose up at. Visceral and quite unforgettable, Raw is a very rare beast - an excellent cannibal movie.
29 of 44 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this