Rust and Bone (De rouille et d’os) (2012) – 3.5/5

Choppy, messy, overly plotted film with some decent moments here and there and some great acting from the two leads, especially Marion Cotillard, but she’s usually always pretty damn good anyway so that’s to be expected. But the story is all over the place, with one forced thing after another after another, to the point of ridiculousness at times. It’s so bloated and often unnecessarily complex and unrealistic, and the relationship between the two leads makes almost zero sense. It ruins the otherwise well shot, well paced nature of the film, and that’s a shame.

The film is definitely well made though. There’s a lot of skill at work here, especially in some of the water scenes, like the **SPOILERS** tense whale jumping scene directly preceding Cotillard’s character’s accident, and the scene near the middle where she’s giving the whale directions from outside its tank. And what well shot scenes of amputee sex. Never seen that before. **END SPOILERS** Beautiful, well shot, well-edited stuff. But the cinematography isn’t the issue here, it’s the story.

There’s too much going on here at times. The story starts out being about one thing, then Cotillard’s character is introduced in a weird scene that’s never properly explained, then **SPOILERS** she gets injured, then she strikes up a strong friendship with the lead jackass character despite his being one of the least pleasant, least sympathetic protagonists I’ve ever seen in a film in my life, then the whole boxing element is introduced out of nowhere, then she becomes his bookie despite not having any experience with it whatsoever, then a romance starts to blossom between the two even though he continues having sex with other women/treating her as nothing more than a sex buddy, then the whole weird security subplot he was also involved with throughout the film screws over his sister, then he runs away, abandoning both Cotillard and the son he never really much cared for, then he somehow becomes a professional boxer or something, then his son goes to visit him and almost dies, and then it ends with Cotillard calling and deciding to get back together with him. Why? Because the people in this film are stupid, that’s why, and nothing they do makes any sense! Screw you, audience! **END SPOILERS** What a convoluted, incomprehensible mess! Just keep things simple, damn it! It’s a love story, okay, just stick to that. Enough of all this other crap.

Overall, yeah, not a great story. I think the filmmakers here wanted to make a romance that would appeal to both men and women, so they decided to add all this gruff, unnecessary street fighting/criminal type stuff to what should have just been a straightforward love story between an amputee and a womanizing, child neglecting jackass. Their relationship doesn’t even make sense: **SPOILERS** are we really expected to believe that Cotillard’s character has no one else willing to visit or spend time with her? It’s not like her losing her legs have somehow made her horribly unpleasant or hideously ugly. She’s still a very beautiful woman, legs or not, and she seems nice enough throughout. And out of all the people she could have possibly called, why that one random guy she met outside a club that one time? Sure he helped and was nice to her and all that, but he’s still a complete stranger. What about her family, or close friends? And their relationship is so forced, and progresses so damn quickly. **END SPOILERS** I didn’t buy it at all. And the way he treats his kid, man. Talk about a selfish, unlikable prick. What exactly does she see in him? Cause he’s nice to her occasionally?

Anyway, it has its moments, but it’s long and very messy, and a lot of it doesn’t work. Good acting and cinematography, though. A Prophet, the filmmaker’s previous film, was much better. A narrative step down.

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