‘Rust and Bone’ creates an odd sort of daydream

  • By Robert Horton Herald Movie Critic
  • Wednesday, January 9, 2013 3:33pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

A couple of years ago, my Top 10 list was headed by a remarkable film called “A Prophet,” directed with ingenuity by Jacques Audiard. The thing was put together like a fine watch, yet had a certain fluid flexibility to it, too.

Audiard’s next movie is here, and it’s also ingenious and flexible. Slightly weird, too.

In “Rust and Bone,” we meet two very different people whose lives cross. Alain, played by Belgian hunk Matthias Schoenaerts, is a multiple loser who takes his neglected kid to the south of France so they can sponge off his sister for a while.

While working as a bouncer at a nightclub, he meets an unhappy young woman, Stephanie (Marion Cotillard). She’s clearly above his station, and they don’t see each other again, until something shocking changes Stephanie’s life.

This gets into the weird zone. She works at Marineland with performing killer whales, and her legs are severed at the knees in an accident during a show.

The remainder of the film is about the tentative friendship — or maybe it’s a social partnership — that emerges between these two drifting souls. Neither is immediately likable, but that’s one of the things that Audiard is interested in exploring.

Audiard’s seemingly haphazard style, with its roaming camera and sometimes random behavior (Stephanie defiantly gets bold tattoos that run along her thighs), catches a mood around these people. They are on the margins of the world, sidelined, and pretty thoroughly lost.

And so they gravitate toward each other. Stephanie even becomes something of a business manager for the violent underground fighting that the irresponsible Alain is involved in. And that gravitation keeps us interested, even if these two people are not ingratiating.

The film doesn’t hold together as well as “A Prophet,” and it doesn’t have that movie’s urgency. Here, Audiard is in more of a daydream mood.

He is aided by the two stars. Schoenaerts has been proposed as a future Hollywood star, and if his English is good, he’s got it made. At the very least, he looks like he could take Channing Tatum in an arm-wrestling contest without breaking a sweat.

As I write this, I don’t know whether Marion Cotillard has bagged an Oscar nomination for her role, but the odds are with her. You will recall that she won for “La Vie en Rose,” and she brings her usual focus to this role. (Her missing limbs come courtesy of digital technology.)

If “Rust and Bone” falters at times, it does sustain its sunny, drowsy atmosphere. And watching these two actors becomes justification in itself, whether or not Oscar agrees.

“Rust and Bone”

Two very different people, both on the margins of society, form an odd sort of social partnership in this daydream film from “A Prophet” director Jacques Audiard. The movie lacks a certain urgency, but Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts are well cast. In French, with English subtitles.

Rated: R for nudity, subject matter.

Showing: Harvard Exit.

Talk to us

More in Life

Here’s how you can attract birds, including sparrows, to your yard. (Mike Benbow)
The gardener’s playbook for attracting birds to your yard

If you want birds to visit, you’ll need to provide four basic elements: safety, nesting spots, food and water.

Oliver Elf Army
New independent music label launches with a party in Everett

Palmer House specializes in cassette tapes. Oliver Elf Army, I Will Keep Your Ghost and FUNERALHOMES will play at the event.

John Morrison dressed up as Michael Myers wanders through a Halloween scene on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021 in Arlington, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Facebook map sets path to Halloween fun around the county

Brandi Smith’s map lists nearly 500 — and counting — addresses for trick-or-treating and spooky decorations.

The green Japanese maple has one of the most brilliant reds of all Japanese maples come fall. (Great Plant Picks)
Great Plant Pick: Acer palmatum ‘Osakazuki’ aka green Japanese maple

Though it’s an understated green, this tree has one of the most brilliant reds of all Japanese maples come fall.

The Snohomish Conservation District is hosting a “Lawns to Lettuce” webinar Nov. 4 via Zoom. (Mark Mulligan / Herald file)
Home and garden events and resources around Snohomish County

Home and garden events and resources around Snohomish County

When your jack-o’-lantern has lost its luster, toss it in the food and yard waste cart. Not the recycling bin. (Waste Management)
The 5 things scare recyclers — keep them out of the blue bin

Check to see if any of these common items have made it into your recycling cart. They make your recycling team scream!

Woodcarver Johannes Scholl went by John after emigrating from Germany to the United States. One of his elaborate folk art whimsies sold at Conestoga Auctions for $4,130. (Cowles Syndicate Inc.)
This folk art whimsy by John Scholl auctioned for over $4,000

A woodworker, Scholl’s carved decorations are thought to be among the most important works of the 20th century.

From left, Zendaya and Timothee Chalamet in the film "Dune." (Warner Bros. Entertainment/TNS)
The new ‘Dune’ is hypnotically beautiful, but is that enough?

This take on Frank Herbert’s epic looks great and isn’t bonkers like the 1984 David Lynch version. But star Timothee Chalamet is bland.

Robbie Dee portrays the King of Rock 'n' Roll in the Elvis tribute Kentucky Rain Band, performing Oct. 29 at the Historic Everett Theatre. (Kentucky Rain Band)
All about music: Schedule of concerts around Snohomish County

The listings include Sir Mix-a-Lot, ZZ Top and Bands, Brews and Bowling at Evergreen Lanes in Everett.

Most Read