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Rust and Bone (2012)

Updated: Feb 4

Brutal Romanticism


"If we continue, we have to do it right."


Jacques Audiard’s unflinching melodrama is an exploration of how physical nature can render emotion – how they collide…and how often one cannot survive without the other. Matthias Schoenaerts (Bullhead) plays Alain, a single parent who attempts to look after his young boy after setting up a new life with his sister and her husband. This is a man who is more brawn than brains and his physicality lands him a number of roles that lead to a series of actions as the story unfolds. After he takes on his first job as a bouncer he meets Stéphanie, played by Marion Cotillard; who, once again, reminds us of her depth and versatility as she takes us through the pain and gradual rehabilitation of an amputee.


Their chance encounter reveals her distractions that lead to a horrific accident during her day job as an Orca trainer. At first we think she is dependent on him but as her will power increases and the relationship develops, it is clear that they are dependent on each other. Where there is strength there is weakness. Where there is tenderness there is brute force. Where there is tranquility… there is rage. This is the story of how an emotionally handicapped man relates to a physically handicapped woman – one who insults and destroys everything and anyone around him, while the she rebuilds her life. Using Alain’s lack of sympathy to her advantage, his disconnection helps her deal with the situation in a positive way – a subtle, yet complex approach to any modern love story. As Audiard builds each scene with broad strokes, as much as he focuses on the details, he is constantly aware of the juxtaposed nature of the story that builds towards a heart-stopping conclusion. Rust and Bone may be gritty and unconventional for most, but there is no doubt that it delivers unrivalled passion at every level.

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