Aspiring kick-boxer Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) is an unemployed single father in his mid 20’s who moves into his also struggling sister’s Antibes (in the south of France) apartment. After getting a gig as a nightclub bouncer, a fight breaks out which results in his getting acquainted with a marine park worker Stéphanie (Marion Cotillard).
Unfortunately, Stéphanie suffers a tragic accident while at work; an accident which changes her life forever. As she recovers, she reaches out to Ali, who is getting more & more involved in an underground kick-boxing organization. The rest of the movie follows Stéphanie’s recovery, her mutual friendship with Ali, & his life struggles.
Rust and Bone is very much Marion Cotillard’s movie. Her portrayal of the former whale trainer who had an unfortunate accident shows her at many levels that times where she commands screen presence and is the driving force in this movie. Second to only La Vie En Rose, this is clearly one of her best performances.
Despite Cotillard’s powerful performance, the story was all over the place. Never mind if you flat moment stutter in this movie. This movie takes many different directions, as well as different many different characters which have so much going on that the bonds that bind all of the events weren’t as strong as I had hoped. Much of the movie earth could have been overlooked had have been better structuring.
This movie has plenty of sexual content (couple of actual brief sex scenes) as well as no sex-related nudity. Given the kick boxing involved in the movie, there are intense fight scenes that can be bloody. All this in addition to a handful of intense moments (one involving blood) warrants the standard Viewer Discretion is Advised warning before checking out this movie.
Overall, I enjoyed Rust and Bone. Although the story structure had a bit of rust to it, much of its flaws are mostly eclipsed by a performance from Marion Cotillard that can be felt straight to the bone. Truly worthy of much of the praise it is getting. B-