Rust and Bone: A tough watch

Rust and Bone marks the return of Parisian film-maker Jacques Audiard. Much like his 2009 success A Prophet, this picture pushes viewers to the unpleasant extremes of reality whilst remaining rooted in the mundane. .

Party girl Stephanie (Marion Cotillard) meets security guard Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) when she gets in a fight in a nightclub. She isn’t badly hurt but he drives her home anyway and they part ways. The next day, Stephanie returns to work at Marineland where she trains killer whales. Soon catastrophe strikes and Stephanie is pulled into the water and her legs are bitten off.

Wheelchair-bound, Stephanie becomes depressed and reclusive, but contacts Ali on a whim and begins a friendship with him. The ensuing romance, if that is the correct term for this complex relationship, stretches both characters beyond their limits. She may carry the obvious handicap but Ali is shown to be grievously emotionally disabled. Rarely has such an unsympathetic and flawed character led a film so convincingly.

A Hollywood version of this film could have been corny and soap-like, but Audiard’s characters are passionate and real, and the way that they are shot makes this story incredibly powerful.

The CGI special effects are stunning, appearing to erase Marion Cotillard’s legs as if by magic. These impressive techniques are mind-boggling; her legs aren’t tucked away by some clever camera angles, they’re simply gone.

The film also tackled the awkward subject of sex with amputees in an intimate no-nonsense way not usually seen on film. As in the recent French hit Untouchable, where a paralyzed man was sent on a blind date, Rust and Bone tenderly shows its characters’ healthy love lives despite their physical disability.

Marion Cotillard gives a staggeringly beautiful performance, giving emotional depth and veracity to the role. This is arguably her best since her Academy award-winning turn as Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose (2007).

Jacques Audiard has fast become the World’s favourite French director. His previous features have been showered with awards, and Rust and Bone has now earned a selection of its own, recently winning the Best Film prize at the London Film Festival, and being nominated for the Palme D’Or earlier this year, too.

A tough and original watch.

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    Kelly O'Brien

    Kelly O'Brien

    Kelly here! Thanks for visiting my little blog. This is the section where I waffle on about myself for a bit, on the off chance that you're interested... Education: I have a BA in New Media and English and will soon have an MA in Journalism, both from the University of Limerick. Writing History: I've been involved with organisations such as the Limerick Leader local newspaper, Live95fm,,, and Review magazine. I was Editor of An Focal newspaper and I set up UL FM, Cellar Door Literary Magazine and Current Projects: At the moment, I work as a Digital Intern with the Irish Examiner, and I also write for State Magazine and FilmJam. Extra-curricular: I love travelling and going to gigs and being involved in a million different things at once. I've lived in Glasgow, Ireland and New York and I've been to three continents so far... hopefully a few more by the time life runs out. That's me, in a nutshell really. If you wanna ask me anything, you can leave a comment on the site, on the Twitter, or on the Facebook page. Kel xxx

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