Plot – A young woman, studying to be a vet, develops a craving for human flesh – Raw.
Director – Julia Ducournau
Released – 2016
For her debut feature film, writer and director Julia Ducournau opted for a surprising and particularly taboo subject: cannibalism. A risky decision given that audiences tend not to go for films where it’s non-zombie’s human eating their own kind, but after a successful run the festivals, Raw appears to be a risk that not only paid off but given the film of notoriety.
Notoriety that isn’t necessarily warranted as the film doesn’t turn out to be anywhere as gruesome or offensive as some would have you believe and is in fact a carefully planned exploration into the self-discovery & how the smallest exposure to something new can dramatically change your life. Here Justine (Marillier), a vegetarian, is forced to eat meat as part of a vet school initiation, causing her to develop a taste for the freshest of meat, akin to a zombie while keeping all her connective abilities and remaining very much alive.
Ducournau is a storyteller of solid merit. Her writing and direction are equally engrossing. Asking questions of the viewer that help you move past some of Justine’s more offputting violent behaviour and helps develop a thought-provoking undertone to this twisted tale.
Performance-Wise, the entire cast is superb, none more so than Garance Marillier as Justine. Her transformation from a timid girl to a confident cannibal on the prowl for fresh meat is incredible to behold, reminding me of the transformation Sissy Spacek goes through in 1976’s Carrie. Ella Rumpf as Alexia, Justine’s sister, is another convincing performance that keeps you glued to the screen.
On the whole, Raw is a brave, original and justifiably graphic movie that turns the coming of age genre on its head. I for one can’t wait to see what this young and clearly talented writer/director does next.