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Rust and Bone (5/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 120 minutes.

Not for children.

Earlier this year I reluctantly went to see a French film entitled, The Intouchables. About a blind man who forms a touching, nonsexual relationship with his male caretaker, it sounded dark and depressing. It was anything but. One of the best pictures of the year it was comedic and uplifting and based on fact.

There is nothing comedic or uplifting about Rust and Bone. Worse, this film falls prey to the same sickness that troubles other films where a director directs his own script. Jacques Audiard directs a script he cowrote with Thomas Bidegain from a short story collection by Craig Davidson. He made it far too long. This flunked the watch test dismally. At one point my companion asked me how much longer there was to go. When I said 40 minutes, she groaned.

Marion Cotillard loses both legs in an accident and befriends Matthias Schoenaerts, a vulgar, insensitive bohemian working as a security agent. The story is basically about how a beautiful woman who loses her legs in the prime of life deals with it and the relationship between Cotillard and Matthias.

Schoenaerts is fresh off his brilliant performance in Bullhead (2012) where he played a tough gangster. He actually gained weight for this because he didn't want to appear with a conventional hero's ripped physique because his character here is one who is strong, but not trained. His character had boxed for years and then dropped out and gained weight.

Matthias tries to make some money by entering unsupervised bareknuckle fights. This results in an overabundance of violent, bloody scenes that can cause one to want to avert his or her eyes.

What might make the film worth seeing, however, apart from the fine acting by Cotillard and Schoenaerts is the wonderful CGI that makes it look as if Cotillard actually had her legs cut off for the movie. It is extraordinarily realistic.

The film contains several scenes of both male and female nudity. Although the acting is superb, it is far too long and without one iota of humor. A movie this heavy needs some humor to lighten the load and move it along. In French.

October 31, 2012