Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts shine in Jacques Audiard’s undeniably brilliant, Rust and Bone, that just won Best Film at the 56th BFI London Film Festival.
We follow single father Ali (Schoenaerts), who is struggling to make ends meet. To give his son a roof over his head, Ali hitch-hikes across the country to his estranged sister’s house. He takes a job as a bouncer at a local club and when a fight kicks off outside, he intervenes and meets Stephanie (Cotillard), who was at the club alone. Ali escorts a slightly beat up Stephanie home, where we discover that she trains Orca whales for aquatic performances at Marineland Park. And what unfolds is a beautiful and unashamedly brutal love story.
I’m only giving the bare facts for a reason. This is a film which really does benefit from not knowing too much prior to watching: you can spot some of the twists coming, others will completely blind-side you, so the less you know the better! However, the strength of the piece does not lie in it’s plot – it is in the way the two main characters deal with the trials and tribulations placed before them. At times I found Rust and Bone hard to watch, but the humanity is ever prevalent and subtly captured. Audiard gets away with scenes that really should be corny by rooting them in a bare realism.
The standard of acting across the board is ridiculously high. Leading from the front Cotillard (best known for her Oscar winning performance La vie en Rose) is at her best Animalistic, powerful and incredibly sexy – I can certainly see a second Oscar in her hand! Schoenaerts’ presence is undeniable; both physically and emotionally, Ali has too many layers to catch with one viewing of the film. Although brilliant individually, the chemistry created when the two share the screen is exquisite.
The other relationships the film such as Ali and his sister, Stephanie and the Ocra Whale’s she trains, all hold such truth- each connection is given space to flower, and all hold weight.
This truly is a phenomenal film. An original love story that will effect you deeply. I would say – watch it, then watch it again!
In cinemas November 2nd