Film review: Raw

by James Robins / 20 April, 2017
Raw.

Welcome to the unholy realm of French cannibalism.

Pickled rabbit’s kidney is a gateway delicacy. Savour its delights, and soon you’ll be thieving greasy burger patties and waking up in the early hours to tear at uncooked chicken breast, only then upgrading to the piquant flavours of an amputated human finger, nibbling delicately at sinew and tendon, lapping up the spilled blood as if were the succulent juice of a wad of rare beef. Such is the destructive addiction of Justine (Garance Marillier), recently arrived at a rural French veterinary college where the dons are rarely seen and the place is apparently run like a kind of post-ironic millennial boot camp; dog dissections by day, bacchanals in the morgue by night.

We are, if it wasn’t apparent from the shocked reports emerging from festival showings of Raw, in the unholy realm of cannibalism. As such, the film takes a healthy interest in human bodies and the multitudinous variety of ugly cruelties which can done to them, with them, or otherwise emerging unwillingly from them. Raw’s most wince-inducing scenes are not of anatomical banquets, but of suppurating rashes being itched and half-digested hair coughed up, the camera preferring to linger in extreme close-up far longer than many horror pictures would dare. In this way, the film bears something of a passing resemblance to David Cronenberg’s Crash, examining the unnatural and fetishising the perverse.

Unlike Crash, Raw can’t quite maintain its chilly, deeply unnerving mood and collapses before long into silliness (“You taste like curry,” Justine tells her sister.) Far more impressive is 19-year-old newcomer Marillier, looking fresh-faced, virginal, and shy at first, before letting lose some kind of dormant animal as Justine’s compulsion for flesh takes over. Her frankness in submitting to the sweaty, crazed convulsions of bloodlust is something to behold. ••½

IN CINEMAS NOW

Follow the Listener on Twitter, Facebook and sign up to the weekly newsletter.

Latest

Is this the transformational government we were looking for?
91411 2018-05-24 00:00:00Z Politics

Is this the transformational government we were lo…

by The Listener

Finance Minister Grant Robertson described Budget 2018 as “bread and butter”. It was. But bread-and-butter pudding was what the public were after.

Read more
Crooked House – movie review
91198 2018-05-24 00:00:00Z Movies

Crooked House – movie review

by James Robins

A Christie adaptation has a bleak reveal.

Read more
The power of sharing stories about anxiety and depression
90669 2018-05-24 00:00:00Z Psychology

The power of sharing stories about anxiety and dep…

by Marc Wilson

People assailed by depression need to know they're not alone – and stories shared by celebrities and non-celebrities go a long way in helping.

Read more
Wynyard Quarter welcomes French patisserie La Petite Fourchette
91365 2018-05-23 15:41:53Z Auckland Eats

Wynyard Quarter welcomes French patisserie La Peti…

by Kate Richards

French cakes and tarts are the highlight at new Wynyard Quarter opening, La Petite Fourchette.

Read more
Can YouTube produce a Spotify killer?
91338 2018-05-23 12:41:02Z Tech

Can YouTube produce a Spotify killer?

by Peter Griffin

Youtube will today roll out its revamped subscription streaming service YouTube Music, upping the stakes in a market dominated by Spotify and Apple.

Read more
Otago University's attempt to silence a women's health issue was wrong - period.
91328 2018-05-23 11:51:31Z Social issues

Otago University's attempt to silence a women's he…

by Genevieve O’Halloran

Critic's controversial and crude cover wasn't going to win any design awards - but did it really warrant seizure by Otago University?

Read more
Auckland icon The French Cafe sold to top restaurateurs
91318 2018-05-23 10:28:45Z Auckland Eats

Auckland icon The French Cafe sold to top restaura…

by Kate Richards

Simon Wright and Creghan Molloy-Wright, who’ve owned The French Café for twenty years, have sold it to top restaurateurs Sid and Chand Sahrawat.

Read more
Eye off the ball: Why did Netball NZ let our winningest coach get away?
91311 2018-05-23 09:50:15Z Sport

Eye off the ball: Why did Netball NZ let our winni…

by Fiona Barber

Incredibly, Noeline Taurua – the only Kiwi coach to win the trans-Tasman ANZ Championship – didn’t even make shortlist for the new Silver Ferns coach.

Read more