Friday, November 2, 2012

Rust and Bone (2012)

Rust and Bone • De rouille et d'os (2012)
Rust and Bone • De rouille et d'os (2012)
Best New Film
Genre: Drama
Director: Jacques Audiard
Starring: Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts
Language: French
Duration: 120 min.
Rating: 8.1
Summary:
The remarkable love story between a prize fighter and a crippled orca trainer.
Rust and Bone is a film directed by Jacques Audiard, co-written with screenwriter Thomas Bidegain (Our Children), who also worked on Audiard's previous film A Prophet. It is based on and named after a book of short stories by Canadian author Craig Davidson. It premiered in competition at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival, and also screened at the 2012 London Film Festival where it won Best Film.

This one's a difficult film to rate, because on one hand it's a flawlessly acted, directed, photographed, and edited masterwork; perhaps the best overall package I've seen all year. But on the other hand, it tells a rather thin and predictable story in a bluntly manipulative fashion. The way Audiard does it is unconventional and artistic, sure, but deep down he's still working with flimsy material, and that holds it back from achieving true greatness.

Rust and Bone • De rouille et d'os (2012)

He once again assembles his all-star crew of regulars: cinematographer Stéphane Fontaine, editor Juliette Welfling, and composer Alexandre Desplat; and the visual and visceral experience they create on screen is magical. Shooting on digital, the way Fontaine captures the magnificent glittering sunlight of the Côte d'Azur is just stunning. Drenching the frame purposefully, overexposing it with a bright glowing yellow tint, making the Sun as much of a character as the actors in the film. Welfling takes this footage and splices together some immensely powerful dramatic montage sequences, it's outright distracting how strikingly effective they are at conveying a thought, feeling, or even just the passage of time. Then there's the score by Desplat, backed also by an epic soundtrack consisting of an eclectic mix of tracks by Springsteen, Bon Iver, and Katy Perry, all used expertly to anchor and evoke specific emotional and psychological response.

Completing this big time movie-making feeling are bona fide star Marion Cotillard, and the soon to be household name Matthias Schoenaerts, who deliver two towering lead performances. Schoenaerts plays Ali, a jobless young brutish type, who in the opening scene 'escapes' from a dreary Dardennesque (they co-produced the film) Belgian city with his five-year-old son Sam, headed for a better life on the Mediterranean Coast. He's basically a walking testosterone factory, only good at fighting and screwing, which he spends almost all his time doing, to the extreme detriment of his son, so it's a testament to Schoenaerts' abilities that he is able to make him into a sympathetic human character at all. While Cotillard, with the help of some of the most believable CGI effects ever designed, gives us a brave and inspiring turn, cycling through all the emotions as a character who is just as equally messed up, only in different ways. The pair of them make an unlikely couple of lost souls who complete each other, the kind that usually only exists in corny Hollywood movies, but with Audiard's extraordinary direction, this love story actually works.

Rust and Bone • De rouille et d'os (2012)

He seamlessly switches styles, moving from jarring documentary-like handheld shots, to steady cinematic tracking, to mounted stationary long takes. Always knowing the right one or ones to use to extract the greatest impact out of a given scene. It's full of examples of wondrous scenes that in lesser hands would have derailed the whole thing laughably: Dreamy impressionistic sequences that would make Stan Brakhage proud; slow motion raw and brutal action scenes set to out-of-context music, or even sometimes with no sound at all; and one particularly emotional moment triggered by a generic pop song.

As impressive and intense as it is to watch in the moment, it isn't the kind of film that really sticks with you. This is basically a popcorn film disguised with art-house sensibilities; pulling the audience's strings, just using a less recognizable set of tropes to do it with. I want to say I love that aspect about it, but I think I'll need to watch it again in order to give it a proper verdict. What I am sure of though, is that this is the film France should have sent to the Oscars.
Bonjour Tristesse

Rust and Bone • De rouille et d'os (2012)

Rust and Bone • De rouille et d'os (2012)

Rust and Bone • De rouille et d'os (2012)

Rust and Bone • De rouille et d'os (2012)

Rust and Bone • De rouille et d'os (2012)

Rust and Bone • De rouille et d'os (2012)

Rust and Bone • De rouille et d'os (2012)

Rust and Bone • De rouille et d'os (2012)

24 comments:

FrontRoomCinema said...

have been hearing some really mixed views on this one. SOme love it some found it boring with unlikeable characters. Nice to see you liking it though BT


Also I keep calling it Rusty Boners.... I need help

365 moviesandsongs365 said...

I'm with Scott, I've also been reading mixed things about Rust & Bone, and you seem to also feel that way, BT. I might give it a watch, we'll see. I'll probably end up spending my money on something else

Michaël Parent said...

I really like Audiard's films and I'll attend a screening very soon since I think it's openning in QC this week!

Margaret said...

Great review, glad to see such a high score as I can't wait to see that one. Cotillard looks amazing here, I won't be surprised if she will get another nomination.

d_4 said...

First I saw the rating.. then I saw the trailer. The trailer sounded an awful lot like.. the entire negative side you mentioned. I'm curious to see how it all plays along so well that it can actually come up with such a high rating on here, but at the same time I feel like I could miss it.

d_4 said...

First I saw the rating.. then I saw the trailer. The trailer sounded an awful lot like.. the entire negative side you mentioned. I'm curious to see how it all plays along so well that it can actually come up with such a high rating on here, but at the same time I feel like I could miss it.

Stevee said...

I'm really looking forward to this film, but the trailer was pretty bad. Mind you, I was a fan of A Prophet, and I adore Marion Cotillard, so here's hoping that I like it as much as you!

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Yeah, I think the unlikeability (is that a word?) of these characters plays a big part in my having mixed feelings about this. Audiard truly has an astonishing style though that makes the ugly so watchable.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I still recommend seeing it on the big screen. This might be a small story, but in most ways it is a big film that benefits from the theatre experience.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Nice. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on it.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

She is great, but I'm not sure if the role is enough for a nomination.I may be wrong though because I haven't been keeping much track of who the other hopefuls are.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

The film is actually in most respects even more bombastic than the trailer. It makes for quite an experience while watching it. I just find that the feeling fades very quickly afterwards.

christere14 said...

I didn't like this one at all and I'm a great admirer of Audiards earlier works. One of the biggest disappointments of the year. Extremely clichéd and trite.

At The Back said...

I agree with your opening paragraph about the great acting and directing but flimsy, predictable script. The 'unfortunate event' is pretty incredible but once that's over with it becomes very straightforward.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I hope so too. Though I'm growing a little colder to it with the more time that passes.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

You know, I get the feeling that I just might come to a similar conclusion once I see it again. Thanks for stopping by, Christere.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Thanks for your input ATB. I think the story didn't bother me so much at the time because I was dazzled by the moviemaking, but after some reflection I tend to agree.

Steven S said...

The acting, cinematography and direction is all top class. I don't have a problem with a predicatble narrative as long as it is executed well and in the main it is here.



What I feel this lacks is an empathy with the characters to really feel the understanding they have with each other. There are no real moments that show a tenderness between the two or a sense that they have found 'happiness' or someone else to lean on in their difficult lives. Sure he was OP a lot but apart from the banging, I don't see what else they got from each other.


The film had a soul but it was missing a heart to really flesh out the characters and make us care that they had 'found' each other in the end.

Lisa Thatcher said...

What an interesting review - I have to say though, that trailer is revolting... I can see the beauty, but that song,... oh my god... saccharine overload... how is it possible that this is French? I am really attracted to this idea of ugly and beautiful together though. Is it possible that the film is clever enough to have done this schmultz thing deliberately - as part of the ugliness? Also, I love that idea of the sun as a character. I love it when landscape is used in cinema to impact at the level of characterisation.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I agree that a little more development and fleshing out of their motivations would have helped, but I didn't mind the lack of tender moments at all. That awkward unlikely courtship is what made their love story work for me.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I actually am a fan of M83 (the band in the trailer), but I agree its use there is overkill.
I'm not sure if Audiard really had any kind of grand statement to make here. I think it's just the result of his bold style of doing things.

DEZMOND HUNT said...

I'm glad that this film gave Matthias a new push in the career, he is so delightful and is getting new gigs in Hollywood thanks to this one.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I've since seen this and I really enjoyed it. Thanks for a great review BT.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I just went and read your review. Brilliant work as always. Especially agree with the part about why he chose to use a very famous actress in an underdeveloped role.

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