Tales from an eternal gypsy who believes anything can happen

VIFF Review: Rust and Bone

He’s a damaged, aspiring kick boxer from Belgium with a young son in tow and she’s a whale trainer at Antibes’ Marineland who, after suffering a shocking accident at work, allows him into her life. Matthias Schoenaerts and Marion Cotillard star in this tender but brutal Côte d’Azur-set drama.

I really hope Rust and Bone sees at least some commercial release in North America because audiences are going to love this film. Marion Cotillard is magnificent as Stephanie, delivering an emotional performance while tapping in to her character’s hard core strength and grit. I loved the chemistry between Stephanie and Ali, played by Matthias Schoenaerts, despite coming from completely different sides of the tracks. I can’t help but think that the accident — and the powerful Orcas — that led to the amputation of both of Stephanie’s legs was a metaphor for fate, bringing the lead characters together.

Based on the novel by Canadian author Craig Davidson, Rust and Bone could have taken a wacky turn but the film adaptation was executed brilliantly and Jacques Audiard’s direction made this story translate to the big screen seamlessly.

Rust and Bone screens again on September 29 and October 6 at Empire Granville 7. Visit www.viff.org for tickets and information.

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