Rust And Bone - Blu-ray Review

'a pleasing dichotomy develops between Stéphanie's attempts to adapt to her newly damaged body and Alain's attempts to make more money by disfiguring the bodies of others'

Similarly paced to co-writer/director Jacques Audiard's previous outing, Rust And Bone goes the one step further in execution and writing than that film, A Prophet, managed to. Where his previous film - the Crime Thriller, rewritten into a character study - fell down because his characters didn't have enough of interest to do, here there are no such problems; Audiard's and collaborator Thomas Bidegain's writing is so on point, his characters so interesting, they could essentially get away with doing very little.

In the hands of a lesser director, there would be some obvious presentation here around the fact that protagonists Stéphanie (Marion Cotillard) and Alain (Matthias Schoenaerts) are at turning points in their lives, but Audiard takes the high road and lets the characters learn that fact for themselves. Stéphanie is left with little choice. Crippled after an accident at the water park where she works, her life for a good part of the film is dictated by her attempts to adapt to her new body, a challenge Cotillard brings to the screen with a mixture of sterling fragility and quiet passion. Her performance here is, I would argue, better than at least three of the 2013 Best Actress nominees.

Meanwhile, Alain's transformation is quieter, less dramatic, though arguably non-the-less important. Sucked in to street fighting for comparatively lucrative gains, a pleasing dichotomy develops between Stéphanie's attempts to adapt to her newly damaged body and Alain's attempts to make more money by disfiguring the bodies of others. It's revealing of both the film's beauty, and Audiard's skill at manipulating us and his characters, that it is not until the end that we and Alain realise what he was actually meant to be saving all along. Whilst not as impressive with his charge as Cotillard, Schoenaerts provides a hulking performance of (mainly) hidden malice, amid moments of dangerous abandon.

Eventually, Audiard's Drama has to fall back on a smattering of basic formula choices and along the way he supplements these with some odd presentational quirks that draw you out of the film, if only for a moment. The period from the introduction of Cotillard's character to her accident is tense and visceral, no doubt, but does that belong here, in a film more often full of quieter moments? Similarly, slightly later, as Cotillard breaks out into a dance routine to Katy Perry's Firework, it momentarily feels as though a different film has started playing.

Those though, remain fairly minor problems. Rust And Bone works immensely well because Audiard is acutely aware of the fact that he is writing and directing neither a 'disability drama' nor a Boxing Drama. This is a Human Drama and then some, and I loved vast swathes of it.





By Sam Turner. Sam is editor of Film Intel, and can usually be found behind a keyboard with a cup of tea. He likes entertaining films and dislikes the other kind. He's on , Twitter and several places even he doesn't yet know about.

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