Rust And Bone is a French drama following a homeless man, Ali, and son who is squatting at his sisters, working in several security jobs and a woman, Steph, who works at a marineland aquarium, where she entertains crowds of people with whale acrobatics. They meet at a club when Ali stops a fight as a doorman. He takes Steph home who had been knocked over. A short time later, disaster strikes at the aquarium when a whale crushes Steph, causing her to lose both her lower legs. What follows is a bond between the two as both try to get through life. Ali begins street fighting to make money and Steph initially has to become a wheelchair user and later, learn to walk with prosthetic legs. Both gather inspiration from each other in different ways.
I chose to watch this film, based on a trailer I saw for it. It was beautifully filmed with a great track to accompany it. I suppose I expected a ‘picking yourself up’ kind of film, but it turned out quite different. Both characters are quite flawed and it isn’t as easy as all that. Ali sleeps with other women and shows little regard for his son and Steph is aggressive as she looks for meaning in life. The film cleverly avoids the stereotypical scenes of learning to walk on new legs and the getting montages and concentrates firmly on telling the story of the characters. It’s uncomfortable to watch sometimes, but this is what makes it a French film and not some dumbed down diluted Hollywood affair.
It’s filmed beautifully, mostly with natural light, lots of warm sun flooded shots. It has a great soundtrack and captivating acting. It may be a touch too long at 2hrs, but there’s lots of drama and events that bring the characters together.
There should be special recognition given to Marion Cotillard who really pull off not having legs. I imagine this has been done with green screen tracking, but it’s very well done and her performance is amazing. Mathias Schoenaerts is also very good, showing a full range of emotions throughout the story.
Highly recommended watch
Rust and Bone