Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Penny Thoughts ‘13—Rust and Bone (2012) ***

R, 120 min.
Director: Jacques Audiard
Writers: Jacques Audiard, Thomas Bidegain, Craig Davidson
Starring: Matthias Schoenaerts, Marion Cotillard, Armand Verdure, Céline Sallette, Corine Massiero, Bouli Lanners

“Rust and Bone” is a French film that consists of material that were it made in Hollywood would be considered award fodder. In France I believe it’s just a movie. It involves a single father who has a lot to learn about being a father and a woman with a particular disability. Their paths cross before she becomes disabled and it is to him that she turns when she feels nobody she’s known throughout her life can understand he new state of being.

The movie is co-written and directed by noted filmmaker Jacques Audiard. Audiard’s writing credits go back to the 70s, but it is only within the past decade that he has become a directorial force. His crime thrillers “The Beat That My Heart Skipped” and “A Prophet” have established his name as one of the premiere European directors. In “Rust & Bone” he dials his ideas and situations down a notch. Instead of dealing with very personalized journeys in crime, here he’s just dealing with two very personalized journeys in life.

There are still a lot of ideas floating around in this story. His hero goes from being a bouncer to being a security guard to being a private security assistant, which involves putting people in low paying jobs out of work, to being an underground racket street boxer to eventually becoming an amateur boxer for the state sponsored program. Throughout most of this his kid, who is left with him after his mother is locked away, I believe, is kind of a background nuisance for the man.

The woman was a whale trainer for a Sea World type of facility until one day an accident on the job takes both of her legs. She becomes isolated by her situation and this man, whose life is spinning like a top, becomes her unlikely anchor, and in turn she his. There are great performances by the leads, Matthias Schoenaerts and Marion Cotillard. Their lives are so isolated, however, that there seems to be little overreaching emotional power to their struggles. Theirs are very personal stories of survival. As drama it is good but lacks the powers of the other Audiard films I mentioned.

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