Friday, December 21, 2012


Rust and Bone (De rouille et d'os)

Rust and Bone I feel like I am in an awkward position after a screening of director Jacques Audiard's brilliant new film "Rust and Bone" (De rouille et d'os | France/Belgium 2012 | in French | 120 min.), because I am reluctant to give out a crucial plot development that plays a central role to the characters in the film. Nevertheless, let me try my best to discuss the film while avoiding taking away any potential surprise from the viewers.

When it comes to the French, what might come to one's mind is the image of them sipping wine while talking about literature and art. Handsome husky Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) certainly doesn't fit in that image. He is completely broke. He takes his five-year-old son Sam (Armand Verdure) and travels to a sunny resort beach town Antibes where he finds shelter under his sister Anna's (Corinne Masiero) roof. All of them are struggling for their daily bread, literally, in this daunting economy.

To survive, Ali takes on odd jobs as a night club bouncer, a security guard, and a kick-boxing fighter in an underground fight club. After he meets a beautiful whale trainer Stéphanie (Marion Cotillard), they enter each other's lives, they fall for each other, and they become each other's source for strength and inspiration.

The film tells a story about ordinary people who struggle in the lower social class in the French society whose daily life doesn't always involve wine, cheese, and literature. However. These characters are real, passionate, honest, and never lack of love.

Matthias Schoenaerts and Marion Cotillard in Rust and Bone

Ali is a no nonsense straight shooter. He doesn't express himself subtly. He directly gets to the point. He candidly talks about the most sensitive and awkward subject matters with Stéphanie as if discussing what's for dinner. Stéphanie unexpectedly finds Ali is the spark to light up her life and the hope for a new life.

In the film, the emotion is high and raw; the acting is superb and powerful; the characters are mesmerizing and heartfelt; the story is captivating and touching; the filmmaking technique is striking and groundbreaking; and Katy Perry's song Firework is impeccably timing and stunningly effective.

The film unflinchingly expresses its characters' raw emotions yet surprisingly unsentimental, until the very end. It would have been better without that predictable and unnecessary episode. Well, nobody is perfect.

"Rust and Bone," a Sony Pictures Classics release, opens on Friday, December 21, 2012 at Bay Area theaters.

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