- Gareth Crook
Raw (2016) - 8/10
I’m already spotting a theme with Julia Ducournau films. They start with car crashes. Ones that at first almost seem inconsequential, but who’s important magnifies over time. Justine (Garance Marillier) is a veterinary student. Following in the footsteps of her parents and older sister. She’s been raised a strict vegetarian, loves animals, finds the initiation that sees her covered in blood difficult. So would I to be honest. Launched into a hedonistic world, she seems metaphysically ill prepared for… it gets pretty extreme. Big sister Alexia (Ella Rumpf) is still at the school, but is of very little help, quite the opposite. Her gay room mate Adrien (Rabah Nait Oufella), Ducournau seems to like using the same character names, is much more friendly and helps Justine to navigate the perils put in her way. She’s changing though, keeping secrets from those around her as she develops a taste for raw meat. It’s not quite as graphic as Ducournau’s next outing, Titane. A film where you find yourself muttering “Don’t eat the finger”however, does pack a punch. Justine has a lot to learn, including just how much she has in common with her sister. It’s an extreme and challenging film for sure. It won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but it’s really good. Great in fact. Julia Ducournau masterfully guides us through a wild narrative with creative dexterity and the cinematography from Ruben Impens is excellent, putting us right inside this taboo world. It’s funny too, not at all what I was expecting and will never look at vets in quite the same way again!