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Rust And Bone review
Release date: 2 November 2012
Director: Jacques Audiard
Starring: Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts, Armand Verdure
What’s the story?
After a debilitating accident, whale trainer Stephanie (Cotillard) finds comfort in Ali (Schoenaerts), an impoverished drifter who uses his talent as a bare-knuckle boxer to provide for his young son.
What did we think?
Powerful performances elevate an unlikely love story in which the balance is overtly skewed towards Marion Cotillard’s character, for obvious and slightly sensationalist reasons. Once one gets past that aspect, however, Jacques Audiard’s follow-up to A Prophet emerges as a no less gripping drama full of humanity, heart and pathos.
A killer whale lives up to its billing in Rust And Bone, a film that asks an awful lot of both Marion Cotillard and the digital effects bods charged with achieving the physical transformation her character endures. We’ll say no more, though it gives away nothing to disclose the plot point in question leaves marine park worker Stephanie at a personal crossroads.
Help comes in the rough-hewn form of Ali (Schoenaerts), a burly brute whom she first meets during a nightclub brawl. The pair come together again following her workplace accident, embarking on a relationship built on sex, swimming and his brutal sideline as a back-alley fighter.
Resembling at times a grittier spin on French box-office hit Untouchable, Bone charts a predictable but no less effective course between life-changing tragedy and tentative recovery. Its uplifting elements, though, are tempered somewhat by its visceral scenes of violence, grisly enough at some points to turn even the strongest of stomachs.
But it remains worth catching for Cotillard, terrific in a role that fits her far better than her recent Christopher Nolan forays. Schoenaerts, meanwhile, has a muscular intensity about him that recalls the young De Niro – and the whale’s not bad either.
Verdict: A killer combo.
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