Sunday, January 13, 2013

Independent Short Film Review: "Rust and Bone" (2012), Note by Payman Akhlaghi

Rust and Bone, "De rouille et d'os";
Original Review by Payman Akhlaghi

Directed by Jacques Audiard
Adapted from the novel by Craig Davidson
Music by Alexadnre Desplat
Cast: Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaert, et al
(French, 2012, 120')

This review was first published on author reserves all rights to the textual content of this review.

Rust and Bone is a slice of life, as beautiful, ugly, kind, cruel, strong, dynamic, passionate, depressed, joyous, fearsome, intense, generous, expectant, hateful, and loving, as life could be, one form or another.

After losing both her legs to an accident involving a show whale, a young, beautiful, active woman rebuilds herself, her heart, her life, one breath, one step, at a time. Meanwhile, a strong young man, with a gypsy heart, utterly lost in life, carrying along his little son, grows to discover his center in her arms. By then, he too, has lost something of her physical potentials, due to a genuine sacrifice.

The jerky handheld camera and cropped framing, besides systemic jump-cuts and an elliptic narrative with fluid temporal skips, have all given the naturalistic feel of a homemade video to this chronicle of the trajectory of two convergent lives. The performances are equally realistic, with the actors deliberately and successfully masking their fluent technique and preparation, virtually in every shot. From Ms. Cotillard's many moments, I cite her mesmerizing walk toward her young man to empower him during a fight he's about to lose, with a facial expression so rare in its subtle display of strength and determination. From Mr. Shoenaert, his ferocious attempt as saving his son from drowning underneath a thick layer of winter ice belongs to this author's clip-album, next to the long run from "Atanarjuat", or the resuscitation scene at the end of "The Abyss", with an even more convincing progression.

The film is not short on the poetry of movements, be it in the angular violence of the fight scenes, or in the confrontation of Ms. Cotillard with the whale across glasses. This is specially true for the increasingly soulful love scenes, cohesively embedded within the fabric of the story. As for the music by Mr. Desplat, though not his most complex work so far on compositional grounds, it does contribute much to creating the atmosphere, and to the underscoring the inner drama of the characters.

Rust and Bone marks the third time that I've enjoyed the humanity, clarity and emotional sophistication of a work by Mr. Audiard, following his earlier "Read My Lips" (2001) and "The Beat That My Heart Skipped" (2005).

© 2013, Payman Akhlaghi. All rights reserved.

(*) Sources: for names, dates, and related titles.
(*) A Trailer of Rust and Bone

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