Getting on With It
With no work Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) and his young son Sam (Armand Verdure) leave Belgium and make their way to Antibes where Ali's sister Anna (Corinne Masiero) is doing this and that to make ends meet. Ali follows suit as he works as a bouncer at a club but also does some street fighting for money. It is at the club he first meets Stephanie (Marion Cotillard) who he drives home when she comes out in a blooded mess. Stephanie is in fact an Orca trainer who is part of a team at the nearby aquarium, but it is there an accident leads to he losing both her legs and having to go through rehab to learn to walk again or prosthetics. Whilst all her friends treat her with sympathy and kid gloves Ali through his don't care attitude is less sympathetic but in being so is maybe what Stephanie needs whilst the cold Ali might find what he needs in Stephanie to stop being so cold and seeing women as there to satisfy his sexual needs not emotional.
Sometimes I wish I had gone to film school as then maybe I would have been as blown away by "Rust and Bone" as some critics have been. I say that because a big part of the praise I have read for this movie is for the cinematography, for the construction of a scene and for the use of light and shade. Yes I can spot a beautifully constructed scene and I can be impressed by the CGI to remove Marion Cotillard's lower legs from shots such as when she is swimming but scenes following a wheelchair at wheelchair height or the blinding of the camera sweeping across as sun hits the beach doesn't do anything for me.
But then there is a storyline and we have this look at two damaged people; the physically damaged Stephanie as she has to deal with losing her legs and the emotionally damaged Ali who is cold to everything be it his son or women. It is effective and sort of touching in the way Ali and Stephanie end up there for each other in their own world with Stephanie astonished by the world of street fighting when she goes to watch Ali fight. But in a way whilst there is the depth to this I wanted something a bit more and in truth that bit more is the cinematography.
But then there is the acting and whilst Matthias Schoenaerts brings the perfect rawness to his performance as Ali you have Cotillard demonstrating what a stunning actress she is. Not only does Cotillard cope with the physical demands of playing someone who is struggling to deal with losing their legs but also the emotional demands as she gives Stephanie complexity in how she deals with the world she lives in, depressed one minute, happier the next yet all the time having that edge of sorrow about her.
What this all boils down to is that "Rust and Bone" is an impressive movie with the performances of Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts making it work for those who are not movie scholars. But I feel to fully appreciate "Rust and Bone" you need to appreciate cinema on a more scholarly level where the cinematography and artistry comes in to play.