Thursday, 1 November 2012
It's been over two years since Jacques Audiard blew me away and near reduced me to tears with his stunning crime epic, A Prophet. Taking a slight detour away from the French underground, Audiard delivers an unlikely love story which results in one of the most powerful and emotional trips to the cinema you'll have this year.
Based on the short story collection by Canadian writer Craig Davidson, Rust and Bone tells the tale of the elusive, down on his luck Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) as he moves in with his sister alongside his son Sam. All the while the film's narrative follows the trials and tribulations of Whale trainer, Stephanie (Marion Cotillard) after her life is changed forever after a horrible accident which results in her losing both her legs. As the two leads' paths collide the audience is subjected to a vast range of emotions from profound sadness, real-life horror, uplifting sweetness and light hearted humour.
Audiard's wonderful cinematography is made a lot easier by the power in the performances of his leads. Like Tahir Rahim gave one of the classiest leading performances in A Prophet before them, Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts are simply majestic with their delivery and on-screen chemistry in Rust and Bone. This is made all the more tragic that they'll probably be typically and horrendously overlooked come award season with the Hollywood Foreign Press and The Academy.
Plaudits must also go to the director's handling of all the smaller subplots which resonated within the overall love story between Stephanie and Ali. Like his past films I've always enjoyed how accessible Audiard makes his films by the use of very mainstream music, most notably, with Rust and Bone, the opening and closing scenes being carried effortlessly by Bon Iver songs while (and please don't let this put you off seeing the film) Katy Perry's Firework is played prominently in two of the stand out scenes of the film featuring Cotillard, to rather amazing effect.
Rust and Bone is a film which teases mellow-drama, sadness and darkness but triumphs with goodness, warmth and above all, hope. Marion Cotillard delivers an astounding performance which frankly trumps her Oscar winning effort with Le Vie en rose and reminds the acting world of how badly she was wasted in her time working under Christopher Nolan. A multi-layered drama full which at times feel both tender and caustic in its approach but powerful and provocative in its result. You'd have to have a heart made of stone to not be moved by Rust and Bone*...
Rust and Bone is in selected cinemas everywhere now. Belfast audiences can see it in Queen's Film Theatre from Friday November 9th, 2012.