Film review: Rust and Bone

20:00, Apr 04 2013
Rust and Bone
DIFFERENT DISABILITIES: Matthias Schoenaerts and Marion Cotillard in Rust and Bone.

RUST AND BONE (120 min) (R16) 
Directed by Jacques Audiard. Starring Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts.

Ali is in his twenties, recently arrived from Belgium, and now couch surfing at his sister's house in the south of France. He has an adorably cute young son, and a relationship with the boy's mother that consists only an occasional angry phone call.

Stephanie is around the same age as Ali, maybe a year or three older. She works as an Orca trainer at the local Sea World.

They meet one night at the night club that employs Ali as a doorman. She has been hurt in a brawl, he gives her a lift home, and tries in his direct and monosyllabic way to get himself invited in for a 'cup of coffee'. Stephanie's live in boy friend is not amused.

Fast forward a couple of months, and life has changed massively and tragically for Stephanie. She calls Ali, and to her surprise he is happy to come over the next day and catch up.


Ali has got himself into an illegal underground fighting circuit, and is doing pretty well. By day he's installing equally illegal surveillance cameras in supermarkets and warehouses.

Ali is a moral miss-fit with the world, and Stephanie believes she no longer fits in physically. The two of them forge an unlikely but entirely believable alliance. She takes over managing his fights. He gives her the physical presence that she needs. Life happens.

Rust and Bone is writer/director Jacques Audiard's follow up to prison drama A Prophet (Un Prophete). A

Prophet was one of the very best of 2010, and a film that I find myself forever recommending to friends. Rust and Bone isn't quite on that level, but it is still an astonishingly engrossing, enjoyable, and honest portrayal of a relationship between two very sharply drawn characters.

Only a rushed and slightly contrived final act keeps me from giving this film the full five stars and 'get along there immediately' treatment.

I like to see a film that remembers that among all the truth and intelligence we hope for, we -the audience - also need to be entertained.

Rust and Bone entertains in fine style, while scarcely putting a foot wrong stylistically. Very recommended. 

The Dominion Post