Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Review: Rust and Bone

CAUTION: Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.

Rust and Bone poster

Rust and Bone
120 mins / Dir. Jacques Audiard

Less is more. I'm looking at you, 127 Hours.

Wow, I should have enjoyed this film more than I did. Really. It's not that I disliked it as such, but there are plenty of things to dislike about it. We spend an inordinate amount of time with Matthias Schoenaerts' Ali, a character so relentlessly unlikeable that I actually didn't want him to be redeemed, and when it did happen, I found it to be unbelievable anyway. I get that he's meant to be emotionally stunted (and in fairness, Matthias acts that aspect well), but the kickboxing*1 is meant to be his unlocking, the window that allows him to release his aggression and be himself. In those fight scenes, however, he seemed as lifeless as in the rest of the film.

Marion Cottilard's Stéphanie on the other hand develops more evenly, learning to cope with a massive physical trauma and re-evaulating the things that are important to her. Notwithstanding the fact that her character is more engaging and likeable, her story-arc is more interesting as the audience have a greater chance of relating to it on some level. She makes far greater strides*2 than Ali, yet seems to get less screen-time (or certainly has less interaction with others, anyway). By the time Ali's story reaches its peak, it all seems tacked on, particularly as we cut straight to a 'and everything was alright the end' scene in which the plot is wrapped up with no further explanation. Unfortunately, it becomes clear that Stéphanie is going to be okay long before that point, and I'd already spent twenty minutes or so idly wondering how they were going to wrap up the meandering non-storyline of her boyfriend.

The annoying thing is, I buy Matthias and Stéphanie as characters, but not their relationship. And that is the central hinge of the film.

Beautifully photographed, full of tension and with the most outstanding special effects work I've seen in recent times, I really wanted to like Rust and Bone more, but ultimately found it a bit directionless. Then again, I'm a heathen.


*1 Well, I say 'kickboxing', only because they say 'kickboxing', but it's just brawling and grappling in a farmyard.
*2 No pun intended. Okay, a little bit.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.

• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

No comments:

Post a Comment