RUST AND BONE (De rouille et d’os, Fr, 2012)

rust Greetings again from the darkness. Director Jacques Audiard offers up a much different story than his previous film, the powerful A Prophet. Audiard co-wrote the screenplay with Thomas Bidegain based on a short story from Craig Davidson, and the result is a quasi-love story with very little traditional romance.

The two lead performances are simply outstanding. Marion Cotillard plays Steph, a free-spirited Orca trainer at a Sea World type facility, who becomes a double amputee after a freak work site accident. Matthias Schoenaerts (Bullhead) is Ali, an emotionally stunted single dad who has all the qualifications of a big time loser … though with a glimmer of goodness. Their two lives intersect when Ali is working as a bouncer at a nightclub, and then again after Steph’s accident.

rust2 It’s very interesting to see how this story is treated by a French writer/director as opposed to how it might have been handled by a US filmmaker. Audiard allows much quiet simmering by the two lead actors as they both work through their own disabilities – hers physical, his emotional. They both straddle the fine line between human frailty and internal strength, often with the help of the other. It’s not difficult to imagine an American take on this story focusing on the Steph’s painful rehab and struggle to adjust, while also zeroing in on Ali’s physicality as a street brawler and sex machine.

rust3 Cotillard is a true movie star and Schoenaerts soon will be. It’s so rare these days to see two strong talents in such a “little” movie, especially one in which neither character comes close to approaching glamorous – and Ali is not even likable most of the time. This is a well written, well acted character study that points out how a good soul can often save another who might not even care to be saved.

Alexandre Desplat provides yet another strong score – this one complimented by many familiar songs. For those who tend to spend there movie time with only American films, this is one that will provide proof of just how different the view can be through the same camera lens.

**NOTE: very effective CGI allows for many intimate scenes featuring Steph after the amputations

watch the trailer:


2 Responses to RUST AND BONE (De rouille et d’os, Fr, 2012)

  1. I absolutely love this movie. The performances are superb and the way, as you said it, the love simmers makes it oh so real. I’d like to add that I’ve never been moved by a phone call scene before, not that is before this movie.
    You are right to mention the CGI work here, it is nothing short of the best one we’ll ever see for such a situation.
    Perhaps it helped that I understand French very well, but it is not impossible to love the movie with subtitles. I’m sure I would have, had it been in another language.
    I should have watched sooner, but at least thanks to your review, I had made a note not to miss it.

    • Glad you liked it, Ray. I walked in not knowing anything about it and was immediately drawn in. The performances and story pulled no punches on the human emotions of the two main characters. Really good stuff. Cotilliard continues to impress as she bounces from indies to mainstream. Did you see her as Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose? Wow.

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