You know you’re in for an unconventional gripping story with a Cannes selection directed by Jacques Audiard. But what really surprises me about Rust and Bone is the amazing acting qualities of the two protagonists and the delicious scenery of sunny waters and frosted forests. This film offers the slow development of a truly fantastic romance between two people you would never predict could find solace with one another.
Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) is a knucklehead screw-up who leaves his life in Belgium to stay with his sister Anna (Corinne Masiero) in Antibes. He takes up a series of side jobs and satisfies his life-long dream of being a boxer by joining in on some street fight competitions. Jacques Audiard spends a lot of time painting Ali’s fragile character through his unaffectionate behavior with his sister, a variety of one-night stands with random women and his dead-beat jobs.
In contrast, Marion Cotillard plays a girl named Stephanie that works in Marineland training orca whales who tragically loses her legs in an accident during a live show. She and Ali somehow form a relationship after meeting briefly one night outside a club. As we follow the progress of Stephanie’s injury, we find out that both of these characters have a lot more to offer and are really just equally hiding pertinent facts about themselves and what they want in life. It’s a truly remarkable tale drawn out by circumstance, but what makes this film so grand is how subtly these two people grow on each other, and effectively upon the audience.
Right when you’re wondering if Ali’s complicated kindness toward Stephanie is purely circumstantial or if there is another inexplicable chemistry binding them together, things turn around with an accident involving his son Sam, played by Armand Verdure. This missing link is what ultimately ties the two together and the happy ending is a little forced. However, I think the couple required a third party to really enforce the fact they needed a reason to be together beyond their own thoughts and feelings.
Rust and Bone may be a little lengthy and awkwardly boring at times, but the story is told through what is unsaid and every breathing moment speaks for itself. If you’re looking for a cheesy love story then don’t get too wrapped up on the dialogue (or lack thereof). It is amazing how unpredictable life can be and Jacques Audiard makes a brilliant spectacle out of a not-so-common tragedy as a foreground to a booming relationship.
Rust and Bone is released 2nd November in the UK.]]>