Rust and Bone (‘De Rouille et d’Os’)

DRAMA; 2hr 2min (French with subtitles)

STARRING: Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts, Armand Verdure

Reaching out: Cotillard

Jacques Audiard (A Prophet ) is a film-maker who embraces extremes: inspired by Canadian author Craig Davidson’s short stories, Rust and Bone is a roughshod love story whose two protagonists are badly damaged goods. Ali (Schoenaerts), a drifter, is saddled with a young son (Verdure) he doesn’t relate to. Stéphanie (Cotillard), a defensive-aggressive theme-park orca whale trainer, loses her legs in a performance gone horribly wrong. They meet at a nightclub when she is still physically intact, then afterwards when she is broken and she senses, with what little impetus she has left, that he may be able to help her heal.


Audiard tackles all this with a fusing of the operatic and the uncompromising. The effect is beautiful in the bravery of its performances, operatic in its tragic scale and uncompromising because it needs to be to work. In Ali’s hefty pragmatism, Stéphanie finds the ballast she needs, but Ali is no Sir Galahad, his existence ugly and elemental. Dovetailing their jagged edges takes the heat-seeking bravura of risk-takers at ease in the outer limits.