The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

It had the smell of desperation, of blood, sweat, smoke, semen and seaweed

with 11 comments

rustandboneCrunch! Snap! Splash!

Red fluids flew through the air. I could almost sense the smell of blood in my nostrils. Something was broken, but how bad was it? Did I really want to know? I took cover behind my scarf and threw a glance at my company waiting for him to give me a sign that it was safe to watch again.

I knew I had myself to blame. If one of the two main earns a part of his living doing illegal bare-knuckle fights, you have to assume that there will be some violence in it, no?

Luckily enough the scenes in Rust and Bone that made me whimper aren’t overly long. It’s not primarily a movie about street fighting. It’s a story about the evolving relationship between two people who both are broken in different ways, one of them physically, the other one emotionally and economically.

I’m reluctant to call it a romance, because it gives the wrong associations. There’s nothing pink or fluffy about it, there’s no fragrance of sweet strawberries and freshly changed sheets. It has the smell of desperation, of blood, sweat, smoke, semen and seaweed.

A rough watch
At times it’s a bit of a rough watch. Ali isn’t an altogether likable person, especially not in the way he treats his little son. There were moments when I just wanted to punch him in the face (hiding behind my scarf or course). The unfortunate orca trainer is easier to sympathize with, but it’s painful to see what she goes through.

The ending is a bit melodramatic, overly so according to some. But this is easy to overlook when there’s so much else that speaks for the film: the music, the cinematography, the editing and the brilliant acting performances by Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts, who does a role that is a little similar to the one in Bullhead, often appearing more like an animal than a human being.

It’s a wonderful film that I strongly recommend – even if you’re a squishy like me. Just bring something for your cover and you’ll be fine.

Rust and Bone (De rouille and d’os (Jacques Audiard, FR 2012) My rating: 4,5/5

P.S. One more thing: Is it hard or easy to make people look as if they’re crippled? I don’t know. But I was baffled at how real this looked. I could swear that Marion Cotillard had been required to made physical sacrifices for the making of this movie.

Written by Jessica

January 3, 2013 at 1:00 am

Posted in Rust and Bone

11 Responses

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  1. They both aren’t very likeable people at all, but I actually found that to be a positive here. There’s something original and intriguing about that. What bothered me (not immediately while watching it, but when I sat down to review it several days later) were some of the overblown dramatics used.

    I imagine the special effects were done with a pair of green stockings that were later digitally removed. It looks very real, but I think Marion Cotillard deserves equal credit with the effects team for making it convincing.

    Bonjour Tristesse

    January 3, 2013 at 2:28 am

    • I agree that it went very dramatic I the end and this felt as if it was a little loosely connected to the rest of the film. It made me wonder if this was present in the source material or not.

      What blew me away with this film was how well it was made. The cinematography, the editing, the score… it was so nicely put together. It felt… I don’t know how to put it. Classy.


      January 6, 2013 at 3:11 pm

  2. This one has been on my radar for a while Jessica. Can’t wait to see it. Still haven’t managed to see Bullhead either. I’ve been waiting on that since reading your write-up a while ago.

    Mark Walker

    January 3, 2013 at 10:38 am

    • See both. That actor is really quite something. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up as an Oscar candidate.


      January 6, 2013 at 3:05 pm

  3. Have watched this recently but I really didn’t like it. I just didn’t connect to any of it. As for the fights, they were brutal but as I did some thai boxing when I was younger it didn’t shock me as much.


    January 3, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    • Street fighting is really nauseating to me. Fighting with swords, lasers and guns is much less of a problem.


      January 6, 2013 at 3:02 pm

  4. I’ve seen it this weekend, I had to see it considering it has our number one actor in it.

    My main problem with the movie is that Matthias personality just wasn’t likeable enough. And if they’re not likeable, it’s hard to care about what happen so them.

    I still liked the movie but it won’t hit any of my top lists.


    January 3, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    • Yes, I struggled a bit with that too. There was a while in the film where I couldn’t care less of what happened to him, I was so annoyed that I thought the could as well beat him to the ground because he clearly deserved it. But eventually he became a more well rounded person. After seeing him in two roles that are a little similar I just hope he gets to play something a bit different in the future. He shouldn’t be stuck in the role of the brute.


      January 6, 2013 at 2:58 pm

  5. Fantastic post, Jessica. Love the title. This is, so far, my favorite film of 2012. Very powerful and with some truly great acting.


    January 8, 2013 at 8:00 am

    • Thanks Fernando! It’s not my number 1 in 2012, but it’s up there in the top and it’s so close between them. It could definitely have made it into my top 10.


      January 8, 2013 at 10:25 am

  6. […] Rust and Bone This movie was made with great care and very good acting performances by Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts. […]

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