Friday, June 7, 2013

DE ROUILLE ET D'OS
(RUST AND BONE)

18th French Film Festival
Greenbelt 3 Cinemas


I've heard so many rave reviews about this film that I was excited to watch it. Considering that the story line had gritty realism written all over it, I expected it to be a tearjerker. But I was pleasantly surprised that not only did I not shed any tears, I actually liked the film. 

Veering away from the standard nice girl meets nice boy and live happily ever after fare, "Rust and Bone" brings together two completely opposite main characters who meet at the most crucial moment in their lives.

Ali is an ex boxer and single father of a five year old son who moves in with his sister and her husband in a coastal town in France.   While working as a bouncer at a night club, he meets Stephanie, an Orca trainer working at a Marine theme park.  He may look like a tough guy but he has a good heart and being a good Samaritan he volunteers to drive her home (in her car) after she is too drunk to walk let alone drive.  

Months go back before they meet again but this time under very different circumstances. Stephanie has lost both her legs after a horrific accident in her work place.  Wounded both physically and emotionally, she reaches out to Ali and they form a bond that has no 'labels'.   They seem to connect well with each other yet when she asks him what she was to him, he simply shrugs and keeps his emotions clearly hidden.  She supports him as he earns from his 'sideline' as a fighter in an underground fight club while he helps her find her joie de vivre by taking her to the beach where she is her natural self.

The cinematography has a bleak tone almost sepia like but not quite vintage-y.  Set in a coastal town, outdoor scenes are prevalent along with typical blue collar town setting.   Certain scenes were too violent (the fight scenes), some could have been edited out while the rest moves at a slow yet steady pace.

Marion Cotillard is quite a revelation as Stephanie.  Bereft of any make up or any tinge of glamor, her nuanced portrayal is visceral, raw and quite poignant. While the guy who portrays Ali was good in his performance of a tough guy who likes to keep his feelings hidden but has a good heart and is basically a nice guy.

"Rust and Bone" is a complex love story between two flawed characters who deserve each other in more ways than one.  A film about struggled trials and the small steps needed to accomplish triumphant redemption.

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