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Rust and Bone | The Clapper Bored

Rust and Bone

It’s difficult going into a film when you’ve really enjoyed the trailer. You kind of feel like you already ‘know the film’ and are predisposed to love it, so long as it manages to be two hours of perfect musical montage. That’s why I’m so often disappointed by the films with the best trailers- because they turn out to be nothing like that, with the emotional core spread thin over two hours where it was wonderfully condensed in two minutes. The trailer for Rust and Bone is a mini-masterpiece: glimpses of the film, but giving nothing away, with M83 playing over the top. Thank god then, that the film is every bit as brilliant as its trailer.

The film follows Marion Cotillard as orca trainer Stephanie and Matthias Schoenaerts as rugged security guard Ali. Their worlds intersect when Ali rescues Stephanie from a nightclub fight but that looks like being it for their budding friendship. When a freak tragedy strikes, they’re brought back together and what proceeds from that is a spellbindingly real and tender romance that manages to eclipse that beautifully operatic melodrama of the first act. Jacques Audiard constructs a narrative of silence and dependence, allowing his phenomenal actors to blossom, often under the influence of his eclectic and brilliant music choices.

Speaking of his phenomenal actors, Cotilard and Schoenaerts both deserve and enormous amount of credit for what they bring to this film. Cotillard is bound to be in contention come awards season but Schoenaerts brings a hulking, wounded masculinity to a role that could otherwise have become unsympathetic. Despite everything, we root for Ali and that’s testament to the sheer force of Schoenaerts’ performance. But the film is very much about the romance between the two of them and, as such, these two performances are the heart and soul of the film and will, at times, leave you absolutely breathless.

But Audiard’s film is more than just the sum of two majestic performances (not that it needs to be). He has built a narrative that twists from dramatic to mundane with the stark clarity of contrast. Your emotions and allegiances will shift throughout the film because, after all, humans are full of weaknesses and these imperfections are what drive the relationships between the two central characters and their friends and families. Audiard’s film is beautifully shot too, bright and rough but allowing moments where the sophistication of the set-up shines through: a tooth spinning onto the gravelly dirt, a graceful orca sliding into the water, Cotillard dancing in front of an enormous tank. The film is a masterpiece of contrasting images, performances and the dual themes of loss and resurrection.

One of 2012’s best films, Rust and Bone is an extraordinarily bold and refreshing piece of cinema that will capture your imagination for days.

rust and bone poster
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Title: Rust and Bone
Director: Jacques Audiard
Starring: Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts
Running Time: Two hours
Certificate: 15

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