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Rust & Bone - DVD Review

Rust & Bone

Review by Rob Carnevale

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

HAVING greatly impressed with his last film, the prison-based drama A Prophet, Jacques Audiard now changes pace to equally note-worthy effect with Rust And Bone.

Based on a collection of stories from Canadian writer Craig Davidson, the film chronicles an unlikely relationship and its subsequent effect on both parties.

When impoverished nightclub bouncer and single dad Ali (played by Belgian star Matthias Schoenaerts) first meets Stephanie (Marion Cotillard) in a Cote d’Azur nightclub, she is full of life and working with killer whales at the local water park.

But when a horrific accident renders Stephanie disabled, Ali becomes an unexpected motivator, treating her in much the same way as he did before the incident and even providing sexual fulfilment.

As Stephanie rebuilds her life, however, Ali finds success as a bare knuckle brawler yet struggles to show maturity or responsibility in other aspects of his life, especially in the care for his son, until confronted with a personal crisis of his own.

Audiard’s film offers a complex and highly adult examination of two polar opposites struggling to find their way in the world, which also thrives on the powerhouse performances of the people playing them.

Cotillard is typically amazing, investing Stephanie with an admirable inner strength to offset her outward anxieties, and effortlessly inhabiting one of her most challenging roles (both physically and emotionally).

But Schoenaerts is her equal, thriving on the undoubted chemistry between them, while never being afraid to explore some of the more frustrating elements of his otherwise charismatic man-child.

Their performances, coupled with Audiard’s unsentimental, nuanced direction, means that the laughs and tears that accompany their respective journeys feel natural and earned rather than manipulated and false.

Hence, as demanding as some scenes are, Audiard’s film offers a wide range of emotions: it amuses, it’s tense, it’s romantic and it is thought-provoking. It’s also enriching and uplifting… mature movie-making at its very best.

Certificate: 15
Running time: 120mins
UK Blu-ray & DVD Release Date: February 25, 2013