Rust and Bone
The French film industry is certainly churning them out this year! Since the fabulous feedback of Untouchables comes the emotionally saturated Rust and Bone – a film so dedicated to its content that not one person in the audience could claim a dry eye.
Directed and part-written by Jacques Audiard, Rust and Bone stars the adaptable Marion Cotillard (Inception and The Dark Knight Rises) as Stéphanie, an orca trainer at the “Marineland Park”. As powerfully independent as her orcas are in physique, Stéphanie plays the ultimate challenge for her ever-struggling co-star Ali (played by Matthias Schoenaerts). After a chance meeting at the beginning, the two go their separate ways; that is until a tragic accident befalls Stéphanie during one of her orca performances.
As the film takes a dramatic turn, so does Stéphanie as she resists her heartbreaking predicament. Calling upon Ali, her not-quite-knight-in-shining-armour, slowly Stéphanie begins to find herself. And thus begins their story: an often difficult account of two people who both need saving from their individual dilemmas.
Schoenaerts plays Ali in such a way that despite his foolishness, and his desire for “one-night stands”, you can’t help but want this man to succeed. Ali brings his son Sam into the film; an innocent pawn in Ali’s complex life. Anna (Corrine Masiero) is the rock in Ali’s life. As Ali’s sister she helps look after her nephew Sam. She provides shelter for them both and puts food in their bellies, but even Ali can break his own rock.
Ali’s self-destructive ways (including stints working as a bouncer, a spy, a bare-knuckle fighter and finally a kick-boxer) seem to bring everyone around him down. Stéphanie’s courage infiltrates Ali’s exterior though, and very slowly he begins to face up to his responsibilities.
The climax to the film manages to amass everything Hollywood wishes it could in terms of an emotive pinnacle – and that is where this film far surpasses any usual romantic drivel.
Audiard has brought Cotillard to the screen as a proud, but unfulfilled woman, and Schoenaerts (France’s possible answer to Gerard Butler) as a raw, husk of a man – both in need of saving, but without living their lives as victims.
The film itself provides laughter, a few brutal moments, lust, and some beautifully tender moments. The pace of the film is just right; there is plenty going on, and all in all, this is definitely a film to be seen, especially if you loved Untouchables of which there are a few similarities. C’est superbe!
Rust and Bone is released in UK cinemas on 2nd November 2012.
Watch the trailer here