With Cannes 2014 only six weeks away , I thought I'd put together a list. I didn't realise how ridiculously…
Rust and Bone
Put in charge of his young son, Ali leaves Belgium for Antibes to live with his sister and her husband as a family. Ali's bond with Stephanie, a killer whale trainer, grows deeper after Stephanie suffers a horrible accident.
I've watched a lot of amazing films in 2012, but none have rendered me completely helpless by the sheer force of its brilliance like Rust and Bone. At times, this film is viscerally violent and in your face, at others it is gently detached. It's a testament to this film's power that it can bring out the strongest of emotions with a single human gesture. There is a great story worth telling here, but the telling of it is where it really shines. Audiard demonstrates his considerable talent, as he's able to show restraint at the right moments and let the film soar to unfathomable heights at others.
Ali is a twenty-something MMA-style fighting…
At this point I should just give up guessing at what Jacques Audiard may be up to with his films. Whatever my expectations are, he's almost certainly going to subvert them. I went into A Prophet anticipating a hard-boiled prison/gangster movie, and what I got was a poetic mishmash of violence and spirituality concerning the Darwinian struggle of the French immigrant class (oh, and I also got one of my favorite movies of the last several years). With his new film Rust and Bone, I had expected something along the lines of "Marion Cotillard loses her legs but the the dude from Bullhead helps her find her heart." What I got was... wait, what did I get exactly? Certainly nothing…
Rust and Bone comes with lofty expectations, expectations the film struggles to match. Directed by Jacques Audiard, the man responsible for the mesmerising A Prophet, and backed by near unanimous critical praise, I had high hopes for the film yet it is a piece of work that feels in constant conflict with itself. The story revolves around two damaged people, one a poor single father who competes in brutal illegal street fights, and the other an orca trainer who loses both her legs in a freak accident. Frankly the synopsis sounds like a clumsy amalgamation of TV movie of the week style disability porn and Rocky on the Côte d'Azur, it doesn’t sound like the sort of thing one of…
As I have loved Jacques Audiard's A Prophet, I decided to try more of his films, so I chose to watch his most recent flick, Rust and Bone, where we follow Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts), who is faced with the responsibility of staying with Sam, his 5 years old son, in his arms. With no home, no money and no friends, Ali finds refuge in his sister's house in Antibes, southern France. After a fight in a nightclub, Ali's fate intersects with Stéphanie's, who takes him home. Then, it's Stéphanie who is exploited, she is a beautiful whales trainer at Marineland. After a night call, Ali meets Stéphanie again, she had lost her legs. He will help her with no compassion…
Several renowned directors made a comeback in 2012 to show their cards under the sleeve. Most of them were worthwhile, if not great. Audiard, unfortunately, failed to live up to the big expectations that his past film had set beforehand.
What we have here is a story with interesting visuals and a soundtrack as uneven as the lines in the palm of my hand, an underdeveloped chemistry and family issues utilized as dramatic fillers to keep a dubious (and somewhat clichéd) story moving forward. Nevertheless, the execution was not clichéd nor predictable. Increasingly, and with each new year, films have begun to retake conventional stories and present them in an unconventional fashion, including the final outcome.
The cinematography inherits that…
All this time we spend telling stories about, and hoping to be, heroes, and it’s easy to lose sight of how powerful we are just being alive. How the bravest are not always knights, how often they don’t know who they are.
How sometimes, they’re an unemployed father with more testosterone than paternal instincts, or an intoxicated girl in a club teasing men for validation. They’re Ali and Stéphanie, and they’re not perfect. Sometimes, they're not even good. Sometimes, Ali gets a little aggressive with his son, and Stéphanie takes a lot more than she gives. But one day, a severe accident takes both her legs from her. One day, his son’s mother makes her exit and he is left…
Two physical people get physical after one of them has lost their legs in a whale crash. This film has Marion Cotillard slowly roll an awful lot of tears down her cheeks.
This review reportedly contains spoilers. I can handle the truth.
A really satisfying film, this one. Somewhat unpredictable and very compelling.
The acting was spot on - gorgeously subtle and knowing.
Certainly a unique story. I would have preferred more focus on the woman, who has a much more interesting journey and internal conflict than the man.
Very moving performances from both Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts. Great directing. Frenchmen did a wonderful job showing some of life's struggles and how people may or may not deal with them. It showed such strength, fear, courage, power, willingness and unselfishness I really could feel the whole movie through.
And if I can feel it through, it's at least Great (4 stars). Thank you, 2 hours well spent.
I wish I'd seen Rust and Bone what Roger Ebert and its other biggest fans saw in it; if nothing else, director Jacques Audiard has the kind of emotional directness that is a great asset for any filmmaker. The central relationship between a whale trainer (Marion Cotillard) who has lost her legs in an accident and a broke street fighter and single dad (Mathais Schoenaerts) is moving, if a bit too schematic; Cotillard is great and Schoenaearts is good in the more sketchily written role, and the way the movie tracks their stumbling progress towards intimacy through their sexual encounters is compelling. But Audiard waffles between a highbrow and full-on melodramatic approach to the story that doesn't fully work either…
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.…
Like its characters, this is a flawed film, but it manages to pull together two intriguing story lines, stunning cinematography and probably the best amputee VFX ever seen on film (sorry, Lt. Dan). The sister and child subplot was a bit of a miss, but it was all about depth of character I suppose. Far from the greatness of Audiard's A Prophet, this is nonetheless a very interesting watch.
- Clouds of Sils Maria
- Goodbye to Language
- The Homesman
- The Tree of Life
- Under the Skin
- It's Such a Beautiful Day
- Blue Is the Warmest Color
In my opinion, of course!
And only including films that I've seen.
- Leon: The Professional
- Freeway II: Confessions of a Trickbaby
- Grave of the Fireflies
- Whisper of the Heart
With so many reviews on the site now it is easy to miss the good ones so I thought a…