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Monday, 15 April 2013

Rust and Bone

Review by Rochelle Siemienowicz

When disaster befalls us, the pity of others is sometimes the hardest burden to bear. This simple truth forms the premise for Rust and Bone, a sublimely beautiful and surprising tale of friendship, violence, disability and love. When Stephanie (Marion Cotillard) first meets boxer-cum-bouncer Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) they have little in common. He’s a brutish single father on the verge of homelessness; she’s a beautiful and haughty whale trainer. But after a tragic accident, Stephanie finds Ali’s no-nonsense physicality and lack of sympathy a blessed relief. An understanding develops between them, but the progress of this couple’s journey towards intimacy is anything but predictable.

Set in the French Riviera town of Antibes, the film revels in both the sparkling seaside and the ugly economic underbelly of the region. Such contradictions and contrasts abound, for director Jacques Audiard (A Prophet), together with cinematographer Stephane Fontaine and composer Alexandre Desplat, has created a work of art that is simultaneously realist and expressionist; shockingly blunt at times, yet mysterious and profoundly romantic. 

(This review previously appeared in edition 429 of The Big Issue magazine: 29 March - 11 April)

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