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Superior craftsmanship on all levels
Ruben Mooijman4 June 2012
Jacques Audiard is the maker of the sensational, Oscar-nominated movie Un Prophète. Matthias Schoenaerts is the lead actor in the sensational, Oscar-nominated movie Bullhead. Together, they now have made De rouille et d'os. Is it sensational? Well, um, yes. Will it be nominated for an Oscar? Time will tell!

Like those other two movies, De rouille et d'os is about strong characters, fighting their way through life against all odds. One of those characters is played by Schoenaerts, the Flemish actor who is on the verge of his breakthrough in international cinema. At least, that's what everyone in Cannes was talking about. Next year's American remake of the Flemish blockbuster Loft might well be his ticket to Hollywood.

In De rouille et d'os, Schoenaerts basically plays the same sort of character as he did in Bullhead: lots of muscles, little brainpower. In this movie, he succeeds in embarrassing, hurting or insulting everyone he cares about: his child, his sister and his girlfriend. He seems incapable of showing the least bit of empathy. His rude and insensitive way of treating other people would almost be funny, if it weren't for the sometimes dramatic consequences.

The story is about the relationship between this emotionally handicapped man and a physically handicapped woman. Although they have almost opposite characters, they find each other in their mutual experience of being different from the rest. His lack of sympathy and understanding is almost an advantage for her. She lost her legs, but he doesn't ask her how she copes or if she wants a shoulder to cry on. No, he asks her if she wants to take a dive in the ocean with him. 'Do you realize what you're saying?', she replies. He answers by carrying her in his arms to the sea and letting her discover that she can swim by using only her arms.

Audiard knows how to let his two lead actors excel. Schoenaerts is completely believable as a primitive macho who means well but screws everything up nevertheless. And Marion Cotillard is cast perfectly as a strong-willed woman who refuses to be confined to a wheelchair. I was amazed by her physical appearance as an amputee - you'd swear that she had her legs cut off in order to be able to make this movie. The visual effects are awesome.

But apart from the acting achievements, Audiard also has some nice visual treats. Most of the time, the movie focuses on the actors, but now and then aesthetics take over. The scene with Cotillard in an orca show is an example of superb directing: the huge animals are filmed in such a way, that it becomes clear something terrible is about to happen. De rouille et d'os shows superior craftsmanship on all levels.
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There Is Something About Marion
marcosaguado27 August 2017
What a remarkable performance! Marion Cotillard as an actress, as an artist goes as far here as very few actresses have gone before - Total and utter truth no matter how wrenching - Maria Falconetti in The Passion Of Joan Of Arc, Meryl Streep in Sophie's Choice, Anna Magnani in Bellissima and very few others, now, for me, Marion Cotillard in Rust And Bone belongs right up there among the sublime. Here I should be commenting on the film and my comment is all about her because Rust And Bone is her, Marion Cotillard. Her co-star, totally new to me, Matthias Schoenaerts, is superb as the handsome, unwitting agent provocateur. Not to be missed.
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Great film in a special way
ghent118 May 2012
This Audiard film is one that grows on you. For quite some time into the film it seems both the film and its main characters aimlessly sit in their cocoon without breaking out. One feels some very vague potential in people but somehow their very lives seem the greatest impediments to its blossoming. One wonders what the film is about and where it is going. Like its characters, it feels like a bunch of loose ends aimlessly hanging about. But I must say that at the end of the movie it has grown on you: suddenly, as the story progresses, the film hatches, the characters break out of their cocoon and in retrospect one feels one has been witness to the improbable -and yet realistic- birth of an unusual but deep love story between two common people. The story has a hidden intensity of screenplay which is intensely performed by Schoenaerts and Cotillard. It creeps beneath your skin. If you like Audiard's way of developing gradual character drama with an intensity that seems to be implicit, buried beneath trailer-trash but still strongly present, you'll like this film. It's a story of how one can find anew a purpose in life when one feels like wasted trash. I watched this film in a full theatre of some 300 people. At the end most everybody sat silent for some minutes. It seems the film had touched something inside quite some of us there. Film as it should be.
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Two actors make a good film a fantastic one
Jafar Iqbal17 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
There's a moment towards the end of Rust And Bone when something awful happens, and we are about to witness the ultimate tragedy. For that couple of minutes, the rest of the movie becomes irrelevant; we are just totally immersed in this act playing out. It's a brutal but wonderful sequence and, fortunately, it's not the first time we have such a scene in the movie. That's pretty much what Rust And Bone is: a series of wonderfully brutal sequences.

The movie deals with the relationship between two fragile individuals from opposite ends of life. Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) is trying to be a better father and a better man; Stephanie (Marion Cotillard) is trying to rebuild her shattered life after a horrific accident. Their need for each other grows drastically, but their real lives threaten to get in the way.

As far as story lines go, this isn't anything overly special. It's the kind of kitchen sink drama that we've seen Ken Loach and Mike Leigh do for ages. Fragile characters, broken homes, comedy out of tragedy, it's the usual stuff. Only difference here is that we're seeing it all play out in France, with French people speaking French and doing French things. But frankly, nothing is original these days; what matters more is the execution.

And what sets Rust And Bone apart from other similarly-themed movies is the execution. Working class France is shot brilliantly, looking gorgeous and despairing all at the same time. The special effects are top-notch, and there is a somewhat jarring quality to the editing that really works.

But what you really need to see this film for is Cotillard and Schoenaerts. I was trying to decide who I thought was the better actor in the film, but it's impossible to choose. They are both fantastic. I've never seen Matthias Schoenaerts before, but the guy is amazing. He manages to juggle pain and deadpan humour simultaneously, which is quite an achievement. Cotillard, meanwhile, is the usual perfect self that she is. Such an expressive face, and she's able to make even the hokiest of lines come off natural and genuine. I really didn't like her in The Dark Knight Rises but, clearly, she's at her best when she's speaking her natural language. They are what make these sequences brutal and wonderful, through their chemistry and ability to suck the audience in.

The rest of the film is scattered with great supporting cast performances, especially Armand Verdure as Ali's son Sam. The young boy is a joy to watch, and can be added to that ever-growing list of strong pre-teen child actors.

I'm pretty sure Rust And Bone has won a few awards, and deservedly so. It's amazing to watch, just because it's so fun to see brilliant performances. Like I said before, the story itself isn't probably that amazing. It's been done before; but it's done in such a way here, with those two central performances, that it feels fresh and original. You really should check it out.
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A stunning achievement
Howard Schumann30 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Co-written by Audiard and Thomas Bidegain, and adapted from a collection of short stories by the American author Craig Davidson, Jacques Audiard's genuinely moving Rust and Bone is the story of two wounded people who form a bond based on recognition and acceptance of the others pain. Supported a lovely score by Alexandre Desplat, the film is marked by astonishing performances by Oscar winner Marion Cotillard as Stephanie, a young whale trainer struggling to recover from a horrendous accident, and Matthias Schoenaerts as Ali, a brutish ex-boxer who is unable to acknowledge or express his feelings.

Rust and Bone is not a film that is easy to describe. It is raw and visceral – a punch in the gut, yet it is also a film of intelligence and sensitivity, certainly an art film but one that is also geared to a larger audience, to anyone who has suffered pain and loneliness. When we first meet Ali, he is a man with dreams of making it big in kickboxing, but who is now at his lowest point. Unemployed, he has just left Belgium with his five-year-old son Sam (Armand Verdure) to live with his sister Anna (Corinne Masiero) and her husband in Antibes, a French resort town on the Mediterranean. As Audiard describes him, "he's nothing, he's a bum, he's nobody. He looks just like the people lining up at soup kitchens."

Though Ali appears to have a good relationship wit Sam, he relates to him more like an older sibling than a responsible father, as someone able to provide unconditional love. That the film allows us to see Ali as both a man of ferocious energy and innate sensitivity, a three-dimensional human being who elicits our empathy, is a major accomplishment. Stephanie, who works as trainer of Orcas at a local marine park, is rescued by Ali from an overaggressive pursuer in the club where he is a bouncer and the two begin a tentative relationship. In a moment of honesty, Stephanie tells him that her greatest pleasure in a relationship is to be observed, "I like being watched," she says. "I like turning guys on, Get them all worked up, but then I get bored."

The nature of their relationship, however, changes forever when Stephanie is seriously injured in an accident at the pool, losing both of her legs and, with them, her reason to live. The scene when Stephanie wakes up in the hospital to discover that her legs have been amputated is one of the most gut-wrenching I've seen. After a period of recovery, Stephanie, now fitted with artificial legs, reaches out to Ali for companionship and finds him open and receptive but brutally honest. For her, he is the only person she can trust to listen to her without judgment even though, in his brutal frankness, he tells her that she is "dressed like a whore," and casually suggests that they sleep together just to see if "she can still do it."

Despite showing concern for her needs, Ali has moments of cruel insensitivity when he picks up a girl for a one-night stand even when Stephanie is with him, prompting her to ask him, "Am I a friend, a pal, a buddy like the others? If we continue, we have to do it right. I mean consideration." Ali is determined to become a professional fighter and becomes engaged in illegal activities such as street fighting and doing surveillance work for his sleazy friend Martial (Bouli Lanners), an activity that damages his relationship with Anna and forces Stephanie to be a spectator from the sidelines. Although the film is raw, there are some moments of exquisite lyricism as captured by cinematographer Stephane Fontaine, in particular, the scene where Stephanie interacts with a killer whale through a glass partition in an underwater tank.

Despite the fact that there are some contrivances and melodrama in the plot that do not mesh with the film's gritty naturalism, Rust and Bone is a stunning achievement. As Eli moves to a new level of growth, not only with Stephanie but also with Anna and Sam, a haunting picture emerges of two people whose inner strength allows a crisis in their life to turn into a spiritual awakening, an opportunity to experience a new sense of being alive. As the Greek tragedian Aeschylus expressed it, "Pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God."
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Healing in the midst of the brokenness of it all
estebangonzalez1026 March 2013
¨What have you done with my legs? ¨

Forget about Amour, Once Upon a Time in Anatolia, or A Royal Affair; the best foreign films of 2012 came from France. The first was The Intouchables, about a quadriplegic millionaire who hires the help of a young man from the projects, while Rust and Bone centers around another unlikely relationship between a killer whale trainer and a boxer. These two were my favorite foreign films by far, and I especially enjoyed this one because I am a huge fan of director Jacques Audiard who in 2009 directed the Oscar nominated A Prophet. That film was much more suspenseful as it centered on a prisoner who manages to survive inside a corrupted prison system. This time, Audiard focuses on a dramatic romantic story between two tortured souls who truly learn to live after they have suffered severe physical injuries. More than a character study, this film is a soul study as the two lead characters find healing under extremely rare circumstances. We are introduced to these characters in a very realistic manner. These people are afflicted in some way or another; they aren't your usual likable lead characters; they are deeply flawed, but we sympathize with them. Like he did in A Prophet, Audiard adapted the screenplay with the assistance of Thomas Bidegain based on the short stories from Canadian author Craig Davidson. Audiard's film was nominated for the Palm d'Or in last year's Cannes Film Festival and is really worth checking out. Some people had an issue with the ending because they thought everything fit together a little too neatly, but I thought the final act was probably the best and most satisfying part of this film. Our physical struggles and bonds can end up strengthening our tortured souls and making us better human beings.

A former boxer, Alain (Matthias Schoenaerts from Bullhead), decides to move from Belgium to the south of France where his sister, Louise (Celine Sallette), lives after he is put in charge of his young son, Sam (Armand Verdure). He isn't very responsible, so he knows his sister can help him raising his son while he finds a job. He finds one as a local bouncer at a disco where he meets Stephanie (Marion Cotillard), a professional killer whale trainer at Marineland, after escorting her back home due to a brawl. They exchange numbers but don't see each other again. Alain find a job as a security guard at a local store where he meets Martial (Bouli Lanners) who convinces him to begin fighting again. Martial runs an underground kickboxing tournament where he introduces Alain and they begin making some money off it. Meanwhile Stephanie continues her life at the marine land, until she suffers a freak accident and loses both her legs. Heavily depressed she calls Alain and the two begin to form a special bond. She begins to go out more and even joins Alain when he goes off to fight. The two begin to support each other, and despite their brokenness they begin to help each other out.

Audiard is a master at creating depth and pays close attention to these random characters that end up bonding with each other, but he couldn't have succeeded if it weren't for the two terrific lead performances from Matthias Schoenaerts and Marion Cotillard. Cotillard was remarkable and should have received a nomination, and somehow Schoenaerts manages to make his character likable despite all his flaws. There is something in the way he treats Stephanie that seems to erase all his flaws and make us want him to achieve his personal goals. The actors managed to create a rather unique and authentic relationship and for me it worked really well. Every scene that at first felt unnecessary seems to have a purpose or a symbolism later on, like the way Alain looked at Stephanie's legs when he was escorting her home. Later he wins a fight he was about to lose when he catches a glimpse of Stephanie's prosthetic legs. Somehow in the midst of pain, he finds greater strength, and that is what makes this film so appealing. Everything which seemed so random at first seems to come together perfectly at the end. This is one of those films that stay with you long after the credits roll, and it is deeply touching and moving. This is one of those films that is driven by the performances and the overall narrative of the story. The visual effects of Cotillard 's legs (or lack thereof) are also pretty well done. Everything about this film makes it one you will definitely want to check out. It is real, it is raw, and it is touching.
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Again a remarkable film by a master film maker
bRAdY-0122 May 2012
I watched this film at the Canes Film Festival, audience expectation was high the huge Palais auditorium completely filled. Jacques Audiard is my favourite director, as with Tahir Rahim in A Prophet and Roman Duris in The Beat that my heart skipped, Audiard managed to get an astounding performance from his male lead Schoenaerts, performed as a brutal man lacking the capability to show warmth or love to his young son and the women that cross his path, his performance as a bouncer come fist fighter for money is always believable though completely unsympathetic. You wish him to succeed though you find it hard to like him so often does his character disappoint, seemingly incapable of love and sensitivity, his straight forward requests for sex come out as comic rather than charming, but his open down-to-earth approach and honesty, often gets him what he desires. Meeting Cotillard he is met and challenged by a very strong woman, damaged she needs to find herself again, he could possibly help, at least initially physically rather than emotionally. As their characters interact throughout the film I was unsure as too who would change who, fascinating highly watchable characters struggle to prevail against bad luck and to pull themselves out of the mire of despair and poverty, my kind of film. Again a remarkable film by a master film maker, completely at ease with breaking the conventions of traditional romance.
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gorgeous picture
Hilbrand Bos25 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I tremendously enjoyed this movie. Some people think this is a story about a girl who loses her legs. It's not. The story isn't about her. The real main character in this story perhaps is Ali, played by Matthias Schoenaerts. Well maybe it's not about him as well. What this story is definitely about is fighting. This story is not meant to be touching, it is all about coping strategies. With Ali it's really fight or flee, for Marie it's getting back on your feet after a devastating blow.

Matthias does an excellent job, acting a lower class man with no real education. He is simple minded and he is quite rude, but he has a gentle side to him.

I like the ink that Marie gets done, marking the stubs of her legs 'droit' and 'gauche', left and right. To me that is a subtle way of showing that she is beginning to accept her situation.

I found the casting for this movie refreshing. The looks of the characters aren't perfect. I find that I am getting tired of what seems that all actors and actresses are looking less distinctive than ever.
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Marion's soul
Alan Moorewood10 January 2013
Marion Cotillard in "Rust And Bone" gave my favorite performance in a long, long time. She is astonishing. Her performance here touched a personal cord with me and reminded me of actresses who've been able to transform me. Yes, that's exactly what she's done, transform me. She was able to awaken my sense of compassion and admiration. Simone Signnoret in "Room At The Top", Annie Girardot in "Rocco And His Brothers" Samantha Eggar in "The Collector", Charlotte Rampling in "The Night Porter" Those performances by those actresses not only instructed me as a man but inspired me. Now Marion Cotillard has done it again for me and I'm very grateful. As a bizarre note, she has been ignored by the Oscars, how is that possible?
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The power of two united human beings and how they are able to help one another overcome their respective adversities
plpregent25 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
After the astonishing "Un prophète", Jacques Audiard brings us "De rouille et d'os", a completely atypical love story that he himself jokingly described as "a melo-trash", which perfectly pictures the overall tone of the film and the social classes on display.

By the end of the film, you will understand the meaning of the title "De rouille et d'os" (Rust and Bone), as both the elements mentioned in it portray the characters' respective adversities and the constant emphasis on their flaws as human beings.

So this is a love story, but like Audiard said himself, the social classes on display are not your typical Colgate-smiled, suit-wearing, warm-hearted yuppie or Beverly Hills blondie shop-a-holic bimbo finding out she's got a heart just as big as her beachside house.

This is no Hollywood romance in any way, whether you think of the people we see interact, or the way this whole story's just plain different, and very refreshing.

While a majority of female viewers seemed to dislike the character of Ali, as a man, I can tell you, this is a guy most of us can relate to in some ways. Irresponsible, poor, rough, opportunistic with the ladies, questionable manners, not really a good father, but, deep inside, a good human being nonetheless.

Stéphanie, on the other hand, starts off as a very narcissistic young woman, who enjoys teasing guys to admittedly revamp her self-esteem.

So we've got two characters that will get us to scratch our heads, thinking : "How can I possibly find any of these two people likable?" And the answer lies within the next two hours, where Audiard and his sublime cast organically bring two ordinary characters going through extraordinary circumstances together in what ends up being a beautiful and rewarding fight to becoming better people who love each other.

Now, these two characters are portrayed as fighters, as in most of Jacques Audiard's films. Ali is, literally, aspiring to become a pro MMA fighter, while Stéphanie, following a tragic accident, struggles to feel a slight bit of happiness after losing her legs.

But "De rouille et d'os" isn't about a woman losing her legs or some guy trying to make it to the big leagues of pro fighting...This film is about the power of two united human beings and how they are able to help one another overcome their respective adversities. It does sound very heavy, but Audiard made it clear when shooting the film (if you watch the making-of, you will see) that, at no point, he wanted this film to be overly dramatic, even when some situations that occur would usually send the characters down that path. In many ways, this is a fascinating character study, a quest for positivity unfolding in an emotional wasteland, with glimpses of affection subtly brought to the surface here and there, avoiding clichés at all times in the process.

Visually, "De rouille et d'os" is fabulous. The almost blinding sun crossing paths with the lens, the beach, the ocean, the warm Côte d'Azur setting...If you've ever been to Antibes, you will be amazed at how Audiard was able to capture the essence of that place and take it to the screen.

Some people thought the pace was a little slow, and there is a drastic turn of events that will seem to come out of nowhere a little bit. Some of the subplots do feel a tad undeveloped, but no harm done here, in all honesty. The focus remains on the two protagonists and picturing their daily living, where their relationship deepens its roots.

Also, to those who thought Ali was insensitive : This is exactly why Stéphanie feels strong when she is with him. Ali couldn't care less about her handicap. He just grabs her out of the wheelchair, carries her on his back, and takes her out for a swim after she spent months behind the closed doors of her apartment. There is this subtle moment when Ali takes Stéphanie to his sister's place, and she is all careful with Stéphanie, constantly feels compassionate about her, and suddenly, Ali, a tad annoyed, tells her to stop. This, right there, is what makes Ali so important to Stéphanie : he's the only person who doesn't look at her with pity. And that is where the bold, "insensitive to some" side of Ali becomes the remedy to her sadness.

Matthias Schoenaerts and Marion Cotillard are both amazing. You rarely see such an organic chemistry between two characters. This really is something special that will grow on you.

Fantastic cinematic experience. Rich in both flamboyant and subtle emotions. Again, some tremendous work from Jacques Audiard...and the two protagonists!
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difficult and charming, brutal and beautiful, melancholic and humorous throughout, exactly when and where it needs to be
Rave Child4 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Rust and Bone is new film by Jacques Audiard known largely for his breakout success A Prophet and concerns the burgeoning relationship between whale trainer Stephanie (Marion Cotillard) and street fighter Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts). If you can avoid it, it's probably best to avoid much of the plot, but given it's been fairly publicised this is fairly difficult, but this is a film that deals with disability, image and to some extent, class. It's been mentioned a lot, but what's really wonderful about this film is it's complete sidestepping of exaggerated sentimentality it could so easily fall prey to. In the wrong hands, this could be a feel-good, motivational tale of a disabled person overcoming their hardships and finding love and personal confidence with a emotionally crippled partner who learns to overcome his own shortcomings in a fantastical fairy-tale rather like another rather successful French film that was released earlier this year. In all honesty too, what I just described isn't completely far-off the narrative arc in Rust and Bone. The way the film handles its characters' emotionally however is so much more satisfying due, partly to the brilliant performances by both Cotillard and Schoenaert, but also in Audiard's writing and direction. After all, Rust and Bone is a feel-good tale eventually, but it takes a really long time to get there and doesn't revel in it. The two leads do overcome their physical and emotional traumas through their relationship but it is a slow process of recovery, one that is instantly recognisable in every day life. For a film with such a potentially over-the-top synopsis, it does incredibly well to stay focused on this small set of characters it presents us as believable and relate-able figures. It poses some fascinating questions; is street fighting really any more or less cruel than training beautiful orcas to perform tricks for our pleasure? Why do this father and son move in the first place? We only have to assume that whatever was going on before the narrative was worse than what is happening on screen. What was Stephanie like before her accident? And, like in Beasts of the Southern Wild, is being tough with your child sometimes necessary? These questions leave the film open, even though the main narrative is fairly straightforward. All in all, the sheer range of emotions this film produces is testament to it's strength. It is difficult and charming, brutal and beautiful, melancholic and humorous throughout, exactly when and where it needs to be. My only real criticism is that the narrative dips a tiny bit in the third act, once the central relationship is finally consummated (which again, takes along time and initially is very matter-of-fact in a suitably amusing scene), the narrative begins to drag its heels a tiny bit, as the film seems to completely forget about Ali's son (though his character seems to for a bit as well) but the final coda remains to avoid sentimentality in an excellent closing few scenes. The cinematography and soundtrack are pretty beautiful too, completing a fantastic triumph of an understated film.
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A Masterpiece, a must-see
Tony88000012 October 2012
Amazing movie! Marion Cotillard is just breathtaking. I still can't believe how beautiful this movie is. The cinematography is just stunning and the score is beautiful. The performances are incredibly powerful and real. Marion Cotillard is able to speak without saying a word and that something extremely rare! She is so expressive you can feel her pain. I think it really touched me because the movie is really real, this story seems to be able to happened to anybody and that's Audiard force. His writing skills are just amazing. Marion should get an Oscar for a performance of this magnitude.I believe she will soon become Hollywood favorite. The way she invest herself in each role she takes is an example for any actress.
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A thing of beauty
Ironically Unimpressed22 February 2017
Does the third act feel unfocused and scattered? Holy hell, does it!

Overall, does the film push a little too hard on the sentimentality? It sure does, shamelessly at times.

Does it suffer from minor inconsistencies and a couple of narrative plateaus the omission of which would have resulted in a shorter, more taut outcome? That would be another resounding "YES!".

Do any of the above shortcomings ultimately matter? Hell, no, Rust and Bone is freaking stunning!

And this coming from me, the person who dislikes both emotional manipulation AND Matthias Schoenaerts. Double whammy yet it still manages a very worthy 4 stars.

Cheers for this Audiard, you're a good 'un, mate.
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A well-oiled piece.
Rich Wright16 January 2014
In the 1994 film Forrest Gump Gary Sinese played a double amputee. He didn't actually cut off both his legs for the role (that would've been TOO extreme) but thanks to the marvel of special effects, he was able to go around in his wheelchair and even take a swim seamlessly. Now, flash forward nearly 20 years (Gosh, how time flies) and we have Marion Cotillard getting her legs bitten off by a killer whale, and the technology is even more amazing. There isn't a single scene where we're not 100% convinced she's lost her limbs, and the stakes are raised even higher when she's fitted with artificial ones. How they managed to insert this footage so completely into the movie is anyone's guess. I kind of don't want to know, as this would spoil the illusion.

Her characterisation, as a young woman who has to learn to start again after a life changing incident, is a beguiling one. It would probably be enough to carry the film by itself, but combined with Matthias Schoenaerts devil-may-care trained fighter (with a well hidden heart of gold) it becomes a great one. Their tempestuous relationship is the backbone here, and it is never less than captivating. These are two very different people; and yet they are perfect for one another... as long as both are willing to make sacrifices along the way. It is also my pleasure to report the rest of the cast are imbued with the same level of complexity as the two leads... These are REAL individuals we get to know, not dull cyphers. It all adds to a multi layered drama which is a true pleasure to watch. 7/10
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Romance Between Two Damaged People
Desertman843 August 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Rust and Bone a.k.a De rouille et d'os in French is a French-Belgian romantic drama film that stars Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts. The screenplay is based on Craig Davidson's short story collection with the same title. It tells the story of an unemployed 25- year-old man who falls in love with a disabled killer whale trainer. Jacques Audiard directs.

The story starts out with an improbable tragedy. Orca whale trainer Stéphanie has an accident at a tawdry seaside aquarium that leads to the double amputation of her legs. Ali arrives at his sister's house in the same ramshackle Mediterranean town of Antibes with his 5-year-old son in tow.Ali's broke, aimless, ill-equipped to tend to son Sam. Stéphanie and Ali first meet before the accident at a nightclub where he has taken a job as a bouncer. She has a boyfriend. He is tough, bruising, confident in his skin and in the sack. He gives her his number. After her trauma, Stéphanie calls and they enter into a relationship.

Whatever digital trickery is used to strip Cotillard of her legs, it's so beautifully and simply done that we soon stop thinking of her amputee status as a special effect and accept it as a simple physical truth. When things do get sexual between Ali and Stéphanie, their love scenes together are frequent, naked, graphic, and sizzling hot. It's easy to believe that these two very different people—an educated animal trainer and a barely verbal meathead — share a powerful connection at the level of their bodies, a bond that they need more than they understand it.

Not every viewer will be seduced by Rust and Bone's style, which might be classified as romantic naturalism. There's plenty of roving, intimate hand-held camera in the style of the Dardenne brothers but the movie's tone couldn't be farther from Dardennes' emotional austerity. Audiard is partial to long poetic montages of light on water, copious lens flares, and the pull-out-the-stops manipulative power of American pop music. A short scene of Stéphanie rocking out alone in her wheelchair to the sound of the B-52s' "Love Shack" tells us everything we need to know about the mojo she's slowly recovering. And a later scene, in which Stéphanie returns alone to Marineland to re-encounter the orcas who deprived her of her legs, must surely represent the most exhilarating narrative use to which Katy Perry's "Firework" has ever been put.

Looking back at the movie,you may feel surprise, even shame, that you managed to care so much about this none-too-original story of two damaged people whose unexpected connection helps them each find their way out of a bad place in their lives. But it is a movie about letting go of shame and making way for the advent of pleasure.
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Rust and Bone: A Disturbing, Emotional Roller Coaster Ride
sbartelak20 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Rust and Bone follows the story of Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts), a single parent struggling to provide for his young son, Sam, who develops a relationship with Stephanie (Marion Cotillard), a killer whale trainer, which grows stronger after she suffers a horrible accident.

Rust and Bone is a film that opened in limited release this past weekend and recently received a nomination for the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film. It is carried mainly by the performances of its two stars, Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts, both deliver excellent performances filled with emotion and heart break as their relationship goes through its ups and downs throughout the film. The story is very unpredictable and does a great job of getting the audience to invest in these characters and getting the audience to sympathize for them as the film progresses.

However, be warned, Rust and Bone is hardly a film for the faint of heart. Our heroine endures a devastating injury that is depicted and shown afterwords several times throughout the film. On top of that, the film contains several rather bloody kick boxing sequences that may intrigue some of the male audience into possibly going to check this film out. Also, the actors speak French as English subtitles are displayed on the bottom of the screen.

All this being said, Rust and Bone is a truly excellent picture that features great performances and an unpredictable story. If you're looking for something a little more than just your average romantic date night movie, I would definitely recommend checking this one out.
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Rust & Bone is the story of two broken people coming together
dalydj-918-2551752 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
"Cotillard and Schoenaerts bring the story of two broken people to the screen in the best way I could have imagined."

Famed french director Jacques Audiard is probably most known for his 2009 academy award nominated film "Un prophète". This time around he makes an unconventional love story between two people. Alain van Versch (Matthias Schoenaerts) is a father who is having a hard time after losing his job leading to moving in with his sister. While out on a bouncer job he meets killer whale trainer Stéphanie (Marion Cotillard), after an accident at her job she loses her legs which leads to her calling him starting up this friendship between the two as she tries to explore her new life without the ability to walk around. When he starts to fight for money she tags along and gets to see a different side of him which leads to the two developing their relationship further then friends.

Audriard has made a fascinating film mainly due to the performances he is able to get from his actors. The film seemed so well made to me because these two characters go from either top to bottom or the opposite way round but either way the two characters seem so good for each other as they help the other get through life better. The film contains some very moving scenes which are set to some very modern music. A sequence set to Katy Perry's "Firework" is a continuing trend in the film as it is first played in front of a whale show then set to a scene with Cotillard which is the best sequence in the film. The film can get very violent most noticeable in the fight scenes Alain has to do to get money to provide for his family. There is one scene where Cotillard's character after the accident finds herself in the bed without any legs and it is just heartbreaking to see this once happy women start to descend into depression.

Schoenaerts plays Alain and he is stellar as this man who cannot separate his work from his personal life. His relationship with his son has it's bad points when he cannot except that his child is weak which leads to him treating him not in the best way. His relationship with Cotillard is sweet as he try's to help this women get through life. Cotillard plays Stéphanie and once again she gives another amazing performance solidifying her as one of greatest talents working today. This women quickly changes from her happy self to a very depressed women who finds it hard to deal with her life until this man comes into her life. She does transform into a happier person once he comes along to help her which leads to her helping him in the end. These two performances need to other one to make you enjoy them more.

Maybe not as good as his previous film Audriard has still made a relationship movie that does not go for obvious but goes for a more personal approach as you care for how these characters develop over the certain amount of time. With fantastic performances by its leads and a great story Rust & Bone is surely one of the best films of the year.

MOVIE GRADE: A- (MVP: Marion Cotillard)
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Rust and Bone
Apart from the great story the movie is telling (combining two stories, male and female and their complications), this has remarkable special effects. Of course it also had a good budget to play with (for European standards that is). If they do an US remake, you can bet they'll cut off some of the edges (and some of the erotic/nude content too).

But until then and if you speak french or don't mind reading subtitles, this movie has to suffice. And it is very well acted. It's about loss, hope, friendship, love and many more things. It is about life, things we take for granted (very well shown in several scenes), passion, but also about broken people and how they try to get back on their feet (no pun intended). A great drama that I can only recommend
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Raw power and emotion
Jim Gilligan26 December 2013
Rarely does a film use its source material (in this case, two powerfully devastating short stories by Craig Davidson) and transform it into something new and equally formidable. That, however, is precisely what Jacques Audiard has done with "Rust and Bone," a moving and raw look at how two rather ordinary people respond to extraordinary circumstances. Stephanie, a whale trainer played by the brilliant Marion Cotillard, must face life as a double amputee after a freak accident. Alain—played by the painfully handsome Matthias Schoenaerts—is a single father who must juggle his need to support his son while eking out a living for himself as a security guard. Stephanie's and Alain's lives intersect in unexpected but perfectly plausible ways, and their story generates equal parts despair and inspiration. This is an emotionally difficult but ultimately life- affirming film. And I sincerely hope that it helps catapult Schoenaerts to fame in the US. He embodies an atypical combination of ruggedness and heartfelt emotion rarely seen on film.
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mixed feelings
richwgriffin-227-1766355 January 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Jacques Audiard's films are always so frustrating for me. They are always marred by the violent male protagonists and his love of violence. The lead character loves his son, yes, but he's a horrible father and should not have custody of him. I kept wishing he would be arrested for his various crimes and put in jail. The extreme fighting scenes were unnecessary - he could have the same basic problems without the extreme violence.

Marion Cotillard gives a really interesting performance but I can't say I "liked" her. I found the special effects surrounding her missing legs very distracting. She was very contradictory.

It will be interesting to see on Thursday if the academy nominates 2 french actresses - I vastly prefer Emmanuelle Riva and if only one gets a nomination I hope it will be her. They should both get Cesar nominations; they are both Prix Lumiere nominees already.
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Beautiful, Poetic Film
dallasryan16 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
First off, Rust and Bone should have been nominated for Best Foreign Language Film as well as Marion Cotillard should have been nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards. This film should have gotten more recognition.

With that, this is a very special film. Every scene is given great attention to detail where many moments in Rust and Bone will touch your heart and have you a little watery in the eye here and there. But it's really the attention to detail with the simplest of things in the movie that give this film it's beautiful and poetic quality.

The acting is superb, Matthias Schoenaerts is a great and very underrated actor. And Marion Cotillard, well, nuff said. She's one of the best actresses out there today. Truly great acting is not being able to tell when one is acting, and with so much conflict and drama going on in Rust and Bone, it would be easy for the actors to sway into bad acting. But the acting is again superb, all the way around, from the leads to the Under Five Parts.

Plus you can't beat some of the fighting scenes in this movie which doesn't show too much, but it shows just enough to leave the viewer wanting more of Matthias Schoenaerts fighting another fight. Matthias Schoenaerts' character fights for his life, and Marion Cotillard's character fights for hers. And as the movie progresses they fight for a love that blossoms between them. Not a film for everyone for the violence, and a lot of sex, but a film for people that just love to watch a great movie where characters go through rough circumstances and find beauty and love through them.

I also like the fact that this movie is true and real to life. Families have there ups and downs, but in the end, family members forgive one another and talk once again as is demonstrated at the end of the film with Matthias Schoenaerts' character.
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Counters a disjointed script with fascinating conceptual details, beautiful images and intense moments of raw acting
Likes_Ninjas9024 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
French director Jacques Audiard (A Prophet) counters a disjointed script with fascinating conceptual details, beautiful images and intense moments of raw acting. Rust and Bone is equally mesmerising as it is clumsy, but that it is ever touching is a result of some skillful albeit undisciplined filmmaking.

The film's story belongs to Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts), a hardened man looking for a place to stay with his young son Sam (Armand Verdure). With little money, they house together in the home of Ali's sister Anna (Corinne Masiero). Finding work as a bouncer at a nightclub, Ali breaks up a fight and escorts Stephanie (Marion Cotillard) home.

Stephanie is an orca whale trainer at Marineworld but after a freak accident at a show she is hospitalised and wakes up to find that both her legs have been amputated. Depressed and broken, she calls Ali for assistance and comes to realise that with the rest of her body intact she is still capable of living. Meanwhile, to make money Ali participates in sweaty, unofficial kickboxing matches.

As with Audiard's previous film A Prophet, a gritty prison crime drama, the director contrasts agonising moments of pain and violence with images that are brimming with meaning and beauty. The tone is consistent but there are bumps in the script, written by the director and Thomas Bidegain. The book they've adapted, "Rust and Bone", is by Canadian author Craig Davidson, and is comprised of a number of short stories.

The idea from these stories have been borrowed and developed for a whole new story and the two central characters were also written anew for the screen. Some of the theories of physicality are smart, but the pastiche format of the book is too evident at times. The story structure feels episodic, which leaves powerful images, like Stephanie's reunion with the whale, as singular, isolated moments.

The trajectory of the narrative is often stifled as we wait for new plot points to gain punctuality. An underdeveloped subplot surrounding Ali's security employment for example hinges on a sizeable coincidence to drive the story into its final act.

The film is better as a critique of the way people fail to appreciate their own bodies, until they reach catastrophic event that makes them rethink their physicality.

The tight framing of the characters from the waist up removes any consciousness of the rest of their bodies. This reflects the lack of self-worth in their lives as they are only concerned by primal instincts of survival, like relying on other people to mentally or physically carry them (a pertinent image), or scavenging for food in this downtrodden economic period.

The disunity between belief and the primal thought is shown in two juxtaposing moments. Stephanie is filmed through a long lens, standing alone as the mould for her prosthetic limbs sets. The shot seems isolating but the visibility of her own being reminds her that is she still alive and capable.

The film then cuts to shot Ali sitting down at a computer, with only half his body visible, watching brawls on the Internet. It shows the immaturity of his self-preservation in using his body for money and what he calls "fun". In this instance, the combination of theme and content is startlingly articulate.

Audiard is less confident with romantic sentimentalism. Both characters begin to inspire each other's belief in their own physical capabilities but it's an uneven theme. Ali convinces Stephanie to sleep with him to see if her body is still functional. We know that he is promiscuous so is he just using her? The question lingers.

Less convincing is when Ali claws back into the match when he sees Stephanie walking towards the fighting pitch or when she is hired to become a money handler for the fights, despite seeing the brutality and juvenility. It softens the opportunity for more explosive conflict between the leads.

The actors, as naturalistic as they are, are a little reminiscent of the film. There are flashes of brilliance, including scenes of unprecedented emotional strain. But then there are stretches where Cotillard's reserved performance makes you long for more perpetuated tension and drama. It's an affecting and sometimes beautiful film but you will have to wait for its best moments.
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Damaged people damaging themselves further. Good but not great.
TheSquiss15 November 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I had a conversation recently with a friend who stated "The French only make good films." His reasoning behind this statement was that all the French films he's seen on general release here have impressed him. The same may be said for German films. And Iranian. And Korean. And… The reason being that, generally speaking, films that perform poorly domestically aren't worth promoting on the foreign markets. Hence he judges the French film industry on Jean de Flourette, Belleville Rende-vous, La Haine etc. (just don't tell him about Les Visiteurs or the god-awful Asterix films!). Rust and Bone will serve to perpetuate the myth of his own making, though it is certainly not the 'great' that some have implied.

More than anything, Rust and Bone is about damaged people and the challenges and relationships that arise from such damage. Alain (Matthias Schoenaerts) is Damaged Goods Number One and arrives in Antibes with his son to stay with his estranged sister and her husband, who have plenty of issues of their own, not least of all financial. Taking a job as a nightclub bouncer, Alain meets Stéphanie (Marion Cotillard), Damaged Goods Number Two, who appears to solve her personal issues via rough sex with strangers. Alain 'saves' her from herself one night and months later, having suffered rather more 'damage' (I'm being cagey here lest I inflict unwelcome plot spoilers on you), Stéphanie contacts him again and a relationship of mutual protection and support ensues.

Rust and Bone isn't an uplifting film in the manner of, say, Oscar-bait Intouchables but it does leave the viewer with a generally positive feeling. For those who hate their bodies, it's a little like eating half a Big Mac (it tastes quite good but your body will suffer for it) and for those who look after themselves, it's like running a half marathon (it hurts like hell but the sense of achievement makes it worthwhile). There are some genuinely shocking moments but most of these are the result of realizing how troubled the protagonists are.

Performance wise, both Schoenaerts and Cotillard give their all and succeed in making us pity them, judge them and wish that we could show them another way to get through life. Maybe they are extreme versions of what we see around us every day if we care to look, but they are convincingly sad, broken and brutal nonetheless Rust and Bone is a good film. But don't judge the French film industry on it. There is so much else on offer that reaches the both ends of the scale.

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Rusty clichés
constantinos-alpha9 December 2012
Warning: Spoilers
The setting is there, the cast well chosen, the topic of a provoking and infinite nature. Yet, this film, blind to all this, manages using rusty clichés to overturn the table.

"De rouille et d'os" simply does not succeed neither in making you feel unsettled nor in cinematographically encaspulating the harshness of the situation in which the actors find themselves.

A flat character (Ali), whose punches and sexual intercourse outnumber his personality tonal palette, fails to go further the character of a brutal(ish), new age, macho. The character development there, just is not.

Furthermore, the inefficiently "shaped" character of Stephanie makes do with presenting more her physical needs rather than the emotional torrent of feelings and sadness one goes through after having his both legs amputated.

The whole is, rather, wrapped with rusty clichés, cinematographical Hollywoodesque (sic) clutter that obstruct the viewer from diving into the character interaction, etc.

That was a great, yet missed, opportunity to produce a work of art.
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left me cold
coolhand197924 March 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The protagonists:

*** Her: A cold and callous ball-cutter. She hits nightclubs on her own, brings home nightclub bouncers, disrespects and emasculates her boyfriend. Also, she works with whales yet never smiles and shows no love for these beautiful creatures... and we are supposed to care when she loses her legs? I found her utterly unrelatable.

*** Him: An emotionless thug who displays characteristics of borderline personality disorder (unprotected sex with strangers / bullying people / treating his son with cold tough-guy indifference). Also never smiles.

*** The world the movie suggests we live in: Having sex in your local gym with a fitness instructor you've never spoken to is plausible and commonplace. Life is dark. Life is paranoid. In life everyone has to be tough and cold. Give. Me. A. Break! Who the F are these people?!

If you wish to be deeply touched by a recent French movie watch 'The Untouchables' or 'Amour' instead.

'Rust and Bone' has a bleak heart... don't buy into its cynicism.
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