out of Five
Running time: 123
Superbly directed, strikingly shot and sharply written, this is a
powerfully emotional French drama with intriguing characters and a
pair of terrific performances from Marion Cotillard and Matthias
What's it all about?
Directed by Jacques Audiard (A Prophet), Rust and Bone (De Rouille et
d’Os, original title fans) is loosely based on short stories by Craig
Davidson and stars Matthias Schoenaerts (who looks a bit like a French
Jeremy Sisto) as Ali, a penniless single father who hitchhikes to the
south of France with his young son Sam (Armand Verdure), in the hopes
of living with his sister and her husband (Corinne Masiero and
Jean-Michel Correia) while he tries to make money as a street fighter.
While working as a bouncer, Ali meets killer whale trainer Stephanie
(Marion Cotillard) and when she suffers a terrible work accident, the
pair develop a tentative friendship.
Schoenaerts is terrific, ensuring that Ali remains likeable, despite
some occasionally unsympathetic behaviour on his part; it's made clear
throughout that, although he loves his son, he has a fair amount of
growing up to do himself. Cotillard is equally good, delivering a
powerful performance filled with both anger and heartbreaking
vulnerability; as such, it's a turn that could well land her another
Oscar nomination. In addition, young Verdure is adorable as Sam and
there's strong support from both Masiero and Correia, while Bouli
Lanners puts in an effective turn as Ali's fight arranger.
The script is superb, exploring an intriguing central relationship in
challenging ways, while managing to sell the harder-to-swallow
elements of the story (such as the extent of the interest that Steph
takes in Ali's street-fighting) that are a consequence of blending
different short stories.
The film is beautifully shot, courtesy of Stéphane Fontaine's striking
cinematography and there's a terrific score by Alexandre Desplat, as
well as an inspired use of Katy Perry's 'Firework' that works
brilliantly. Similarly, Audiard's direction is assured throughout,
blending dark humour, powerful emotion, violence and moments of
heart-stopping suspense, as well as presenting some refreshingly
offbeat sex scenes that are subtly groundbreaking in their
On top of that, Audiard orchestrates some brilliantly memorable
sequences, such as a beautifully shot scene where Steph returns to
after her accident and a heart-stopping final act.
Rust And Bone is an impressively directed, superbly written and brilliantly
acted French drama that packs a powerful emotional punch. Highly
Rust And Bone (De Rouille Et D'Os) (15)