Sometimes excessive blood just desensitizes the viewer rather than freak them out. Julia Ducournau’s Raw however, will disturb possibly even the least skittish. Without giving much away, the film is about life-long vegetarian, Justine (Garance Marillier) and her cannibalistic awakening after trying meat for the first time.
At the French veterinary school where the film takes place, the students seem to have insane amounts of free reign to haze whoever they wish no matter how loud and obvious it is that they are up to no good. How is it that no teachers hear or see these huge hazing ceremonies that are going on? This would be the only gripe with the film. It just stuck out as odd and illogical.
Raw is a film that is very sexually provocative in nature. The way Justine eats meat is almost seductive, even. This could lend itself to what the cannibalism means on a deeper level possibility on a feminist level, a woman’s sexual awakening in college. Justine is portrayed as quite coy when she first arrives at med school, but slowly becomes more and more wild and free as time progresses. College is seen by many as a time for young adults to do many things that they were not permitted to do when parents were around and Justine can be seen as someone who takes full advantage of this.
The score is effective when it shows up but the lack of it in some parts added to the atmosphere rather than subtracted. The simple sound of guitars provide for a much more gritty and visceral experience overall. The soundtrack is mostly of the techno/electronic variety and one song’s lyrics even provide a tongue-in-cheek reference to the plot of the film, which was a clever inclusion.
The most impressive part of the cinematography has to be the party scenes. Bright neon lights and loud music cover the screen, giving a very Refn-esque look to the movie. The rest of the movie, gives off a very realistic or (ahem) raw feel. The sky is overcast for most of the film. Which inspires a very grim looking film.
Raw is part rave, part coming of age film, and part horror movie. This odd concoction makes for a very delectable and rich film that, when finished, may make you feel a bit queasy.
Author’s Note: If you don’t like soggy hair then Raw is not for you