I knew I was in for something good, since this film has been the talk of the London Film Festival. With numerous 5 star reviews, Rust and Bone promised to be a treat.
Marion Cotillard, the much acclaimed, Academy Award winning actress graces the film as Stephanie a woman who takes life for granted but will soon find herself in a challenging position after losing her legs in an unfortunate work accident. Stuck in a wheelchair now, with no joy of living anymore, she will build a close friendship with Alain, played by Matthias Schoenaerts who had previously been there to rescue her from a fight in a club. Naturally they become closer as he shows her that she is not a vegetable now who has to stop living – he shows her the bright side of her life as it is now.
…a water-themed dream…
There are lots of lessons to be learned on both sides as she watches Alain being a father to his child and understands that there is more to life and he finds in her a true friend, a woman who can fill the gap in his and his son’s lives. Engaging in some street fights to make some money, Alain is closely watched by Stephanie who encourages him even though she feels this is a mistake.
The aesthetic side of the film is remarkable. The opening credits feel like a water-themed dream and sort of announce what is bound to happen within the next minutes of the movie. It then goes on at a slow pace so that the viewer can assimilate properly the misfortune of Alain and his son, looking for food in the bins of the train or the child’s cries of hunger. When it comes to Stephanie at her work place, we see beautiful slow motion shots of the whales, presenting their environment as the most peaceful and harmless place, unaware of what tragedy they could trigger. The scene of her accident is wonderfully constructed as the music stops and this loud silence fills the room leaving the audience to gasp in horror as we are forced to be witnesses to the life-changing moment of Stephanie.
…physical and psychological…
Marion brings yet another astonishing performance as a woman who faces a journey from being bored of her life, to a depressing moment and then slowly beginning to enjoy her life once again, seeing it from a new perspective.
Rust and Bone talks about fighting: physical and psychological. Psychological to overcome the illusion of inability to live normally and physical as the only way to earn a living, the only way to be a father. Stephanie and Alain inspire each other to fight until the end: until her wheelchair gets rusty and his bones get broken.