Jacques Audiard is a French film director and writer that I grown to admire. First of his movies to come to my attention was Read My Lips (2001) which starred Vincent Cassel as an ex-con on parole who gets a job in an office environment and gradually forms a relationship with a hard of hearing secretary whose colleagues treat like dirt. Then The Beat that My Heart Skipped (2005), which tells the story of a 28-year-old real estate broker who, although involved with some very shady deals, has ambitions to become a concert pianist. It stars Romain Duris and went on to win a BAFTA for the Best Film not in the English Language. His best-known movie however is the award winning A Prophet (2009) a very gritty prison drama that brought Tahar Rahim to the attention of the cinema going public.
|Stephanie takes the applause at Marineland.|
Although ultra tough males have dominated Audiard’s previous films his latest movie not only includes the usual alpha male but a lead female character of immense strength and courage. Rust and Bone (2012) is very loosely based on a series of short stories of the same name (the title refers to the taste you get in your mouth when taking a hard punch) by Canadian author Craig Davidson. Set in Antibes a picturesque coastal resort between Cannes and Nice in Southeastern France of which we get to see a far grittier picture than normal.
|Not the best way to earn your living!!|
Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) and his five-year-old son Sam, a boy he hardly knows, arrive on the Cote d’Azur to stay with his sister Anna and her husband. She puts them up in her garage and takes the wee lad under her wing. Ali, who was a boxer back in Belgium, gets a job as a bouncer at a nightclub where one evening he goes to the aid of Stephanie (Marion Coltillard), a pretty young women who he escorts home, leaving her his telephone number. Its when Stephanie is trying to come to terms with a terrible accident where she looses both her legs from the knees while training orca whales at the popular tourist attraction Marineland that she finally contacts Ali. He does not seem to be put of by her disabilities and starts a friendship that develops into a sexual relationship that literally puts Stephanie back on her ‘feet’. Meanwhile Ali begins to enjoy the monetary rewards of bare-knuckle fighting.
|Ali and Stephanie become friends....|
Other than some over elaborate cinematography at times this is a well-made powerful movie, which has a love story that resonates right out from the cinema screen. It’s tough, gritty and touching with both Schoenaerts and Coltillard completely convincing as two people that have to face up to life in differing ways but in the process help each other cope with the hardships thrown at them. Marion Coltillard certainly deserves a mention in this seasons Award dispatches. While Audiard deserves a lot of credit for his brave attempt to show what it like to loose limbs, the CGI is totally believable. A film that definitely deserves your attention.
|Facing up to life again.|