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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
15
Cast
Marion Cotillard
Matthias Schoenaerts
Armand Verdure.
Directors
Jacques Audiard.
Screenwriters
Jacques Audiard
Thomas Bidegain.
Running Time
120 minutes

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Rust And Bone
The strife aquatic


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Plot
Ali (Schoenaerts), a drifter in his twenties, takes his young son to the south of France to shack up in his sister’s garage. Scoring a job as a bouncer, he has a chance encounter with a killer-whale trainer (Cotillard) that will affect them both.


Review
Rust And Bone
Liberally adapted from Craig Davidson’s short-story collection, Rust And Bone poses that age-old question: what do you do when life serves you lemons? If you’d seen Jacques Audiard’s last two films, A Prophet or The Beat My Heart Skipped, you might reasonably expect the answer to involve a razor blade or the bruised face of some unlucky perp. Here, though, the Frenchman is on more gentle, if no less citric form, delivering one of the year’s most intimate, human films.

At its heart are brio-filled performances by Marion Cotillard and Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts. As Stéphanie, trainer of Marineland’s killer whales, Cotillard is brusquely in control, a free spirit who pours herself into her work and punches out her frustrations on the dancefloor. Schoenaerts’ Ali is a man at odds with himself, a bare-knuckle fighter who scrounges food on trains, neglects his son and depends on his sister’s charity. Little do they know, but this odd couple will need each other to survive.

Their first encounter is more meet-brute than meet-cute. The fallout from a bloody nightclub brawl establishes a tang of uneasy chemistry between the pair. She recoils from him but takes his number anyway, drawn by his bullish masculinity. Yet when a catastrophic accident at her work reconnects them, it’s Ali who helps her, without pity or condescension, and it’s she who rekindles his humanity.

A Hollywood version of this — Free Willy meets Nicholas Sparks — is too corny to contemplate, but Audiard’s unsentimental handling lends the material an emotional heft reinforced by Alexandre Desplat’s sparse score. The sex scenes are intimate but not coy, while its domestic struggles are framed with claustrophobic intensity; but it’s out in the gauzy glow of the French Riviera that the film delivers transcendence. Audiard has already proved himself a poet of savage souls, but in one long, spellbinding shot of Stéphanie and her killer whale, he proves he’s much more besides.


Verdict
Another triumph from Audiard and a Cotillard masterclass, this bruising, tender melodrama lingers long in the memory.


Reviewed by Phil de Semlyen

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Rust And Bone
Empire Star Rating

Heartbreaking but beautiful. Brilliantly shot and acted - this was definitely one of my 'films of 2012'. Must see ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by danfacey711 at 22:33, 03 January 2013 | Report This Post


Beautifully photographed and full of tension.

Wow, I should have enjoyed this film more than I did. Really. It's not that I disliked it as such, but there are plenty of things to dislike about it. We spend an inordinate amount of time with Matthias Schoenaerts' Ali, a character so relentlessly unlikeable that I actually didn't want him to be redeemed, and when it did happen, I found it to be unbelievable anyway. Marion Cottilard's Stéphanie on the other hand develops more evenly, yet seems to get less screen-time (or certainly has less int... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheMightyBlackout at 19:30, 11 December 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Rust And Bone

Just watched this tonight, and I have to say it's one of the most powerful films I've seen recently, not just from this year, but in general. It's a brilliant study of two characters from two completely different backgrounds who are drawn together by a tragic accident. Marion Cotillard is absolutely amazing in this. Easily the best performance of the year, male or female. Only complaint would be that she was featured less in the final 20 minutes or so, but we got some of the most powerful momen... More

Posted by Coyleone at 01:36, 19 November 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Rust And Bone

I liked it, but didn't love it. I thought the ending felt too convenient and easily wrapped up, and Cotillard seemed to be somewhat peripheral by the end, which was odd given the film for the most part was an effective double-act. Still, the performances were really brilliant, especially given how unlikeable both characters had a tendency to be. As for the use of Katy Perry... surprisingly moving, though I've realised I quite like the song....definitely the most emotionally powerful of this dir... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by licencetokilt at 17:21, 15 November 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Rust And Bone

L: GCH An amazing film and an intriguing story. Thank God this was not the Hollywood version! The special effects are sensational- did Marion have her legs amputated for the part? How do they make it look so realistic? I also think this was a five star film, as I found it totally absorbing and moving. point in the film, there was a loud gasp from the audience't recall that sort of thing from other films- which showed that everyone else was also deeply immersed in the story. Wow! t... More

Posted by BelovedAunt at 16:25, 13 November 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Rust and Bone

Saw this a few days ago, and it has haunted me ever since. Certainly quite distressing in parts, but ultimately uplifting on the whole. The scenes SPOILER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! involving Marion Cotillard's character first awaking, minus her legs, and Matthias Schoenaerts's son falling through the ice, were both incredibly powerful cinema. And as someone has already mentioned, kudos the special effects house that worked on this. Absolutely flawless stuff, and used CGI to it... More

Posted by film man aidy at 20:19, 11 November 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Rust and Bone

L: R W Adapted from the short-story collection by Canadian author Craig Davidson, French director Jacques Audiard’s follow-up to his crime epic masterpiece A Prophet is not one of darkness and corruption as you would expect from Monsieur Audiard, as he goes for something softer and more romantic. Broke and homeless, Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) takes his five year-old son Sam to the south of France to move in with his sister. During his various positions, Ali gets acquainted with a kille... More

Posted by ElephantBoy at 11:08, 09 November 2012 | Report This Post


RE: Rust And Bone

An amazing film and an intriguing story. Thank God this was not the Hollywood version! The special effects are sensational- did Marion have her legs amputated for the part? How do they make it look so realistic? I also think this was a five star film, as I found it totally absorbing and moving. At one point in the film, there was a loud gasp from the audience- I can't recall that sort of thing from other films- which showed that everyone else was also deeply immersed in the story. Wow! ... More

Posted by GCH at 08:59, 09 November 2012 | Report This Post


Une inspiration.

I rarely do but on this occassion i totally disagree with you's on the 4 stars, it should be 5 stars, no doubt about it. I saw this movie today&now have that rare feeling for which i love films for so much. That rare occasion where you leave the cinema after seeing the movie but the movie stays with you. Its been with me all day leaving me in quite a strange contemplative mood. This is why i love film&buy empire every month! Once a year or if your lucky maybe twice&if your unlucky ma... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by fuzzy1659 at 18:42, 07 November 2012 | Report This Post


Une inspiration.

I rarely do but on this occassion i totally disagree with you's on the 4 stars, it should be 5 stars, no doubt about it. I saw this movie today&now have that rare feeling for which i love films for so much. That rare occasion where you leave the cinema after seeing the movie but the movie stays with you. Its been with me all day leaving me in quite a strange contemplative mood. This is why i love film&buy empire every month! Once a year or if your lucky maybe twice&if your unlucky ma... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by fuzzy1659 at 18:40, 07 November 2012 | Report This Post


Une inspiration.

I rarely do but on this occassion i totally disagree with you's on the 4 stars, it should be 5 stars, no doubt about it. I saw this movie today&now have that rare feeling for which i love films for so much. That rare occasion where you leave the cinema after seeing the movie but the movie stays with you. Its been with me all day leaving me in quite a strange contemplative mood. This is why i love film&buy empire every month! Once a year or if your lucky maybe twice&if your unlucky ma... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by fuzzy1659 at 18:40, 07 November 2012 | Report This Post


Rust and Bone

Adapted from the short-story collection by Canadian author Craig Davidson, French director Jacques Audiard’s follow-up to his crime epic masterpiece A Prophet is not one of darkness and corruption as you would expect from Monsieur Audiard, as he goes for something softer and more romantic. Broke and homeless, Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) takes his five year-old son Sam to the south of France to move in with his sister. During his various positions, Ali gets acquainted with a killer whale trainer,... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by R W at 19:53, 02 November 2012 | Report This Post


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