When it comes to foreign films, most of us will get turned off having to read subtitles. In the case of the French Horror/Drama Raw by director Julia Ducournau, the visuals capture us early on and won't let go. Now I had heard about this movie many times since its release in 2016, but never gave it a chance. Well, now that we have all been stuck inside from this pandemic I figured now is as good a time as any. Let me tell you, I was not prepared for this journey.
Justine (Garance Marillier) is a vegetarian setting out to join her sister at veterinary school. Upon her arrival, all the freshmen participate in a hazing ritual where their stuff is trashed and they have to eat a rabbit heart (you know the usual). Justine's body reacts oddly to the meat but not in the way of making her sick. She actually craves meat, disturbingly human flesh.
In a twisted turn of events, the tone of the movie changes. There are moments where the characters aren’t speaking and the music plays perfectly in portraying the sinister thoughts coursing throughout Justine's mind. There are some great close up shots on the characters which give the scenes depth. The beautifully shot film radiates the neon lights, party sequences, Justine in the fetal position under her blankets, to a wrecked car on a long road which counters the cannibalistic tendencies of our protagonist.
Raw does what it sets out to do. It makes you uncomfortable. Every moment Justine is alone with anyone, you never know how the situation will play out. It keeps you on the edge with its unpredictable left turns which instill fear for everyone. Then at the end, you’re hit with a sudden right turn and sends you on your way. Although, the movie is gory and raw (see what I did there?) in some parts, your eyes stay glued to the screen. For once, I enjoyed putting my feet up and watching where the movie took me.
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