I didn’t think I’d like Rust and Bone and so had been putting off watching it as long I could. Unfortunately when you write the UK’s 38th best film blog you can only put off watching a film for so long before a PR company emails you reminding you that the DVD is on release TODAY (their capitalisation). And fair enough, they sent you the DVD weeks ago and all you’ve done is left it sitting on top of a pile of DVDs waiting to be ignored.
Now I have watched the DVD and, surprise surprise, I enjoyed it. The plot surrounds Stéphanie (Marion Cotillard) a young woman who loses her legs in a horrific accident. We see her learning to deal with her new disability and tentatively start a friendship with Alain (Matthias Schoenaerts) an amateur fighter and his young son Sam (Armand Verdure). As the title suggests the film is quite raw and is all the more powerful for it. As Cotillard struggles to adapt to her new life and to let Alain get close to her the tone is relatively dark and there are few silver linings to the many clouds.
This raw emotional aesthetic makes for a powerful film and the central relationship makes for quite an unromantic romance. They are there for each other in a physical sense but are reluctant to rely on one another for any of their emotional needs. Stéphanie is a strong character and not one prone to self-pity while Alain is a generous man with a violent energy bubbling beneath the surface.
Part of my trepidation in watching Rust and Bone was caused by my previous experience with Marion Cotillard. Whenever I have seen he in English-speaking roles she has left me cold. Her performance in The Dark Knight Rises, filmed in parallel with this film, was not so much phoned in as sent via SMS with no proper punctuation. In Rust and Bone however she is impeccable and truly embodies the role she is playing.
Rust and Bone is a deeply emotional drama that veers clear of being over-dramatic and overly emotional. The performances are natural and the film is gripping because of this. It is astonishing that this film was ignored at The Oscars on Sunday.
The DVD Extras
The extras consist of an hour-long “Making Of” documentary (lovely), a few deleted scenes, and a short featurette just showcasing the special effects. It is this short featurette that most intrigued me as it allows you a quick look at how they dealt with removing Marion Cotillard’s legs and it’s not often sex scenes feature in an effects reel.