Screened at the 2012 Telluride Film Festival.
Jacques Audiard is fascinated with power: how we use it and what it does to us. His acclaimed 2009 drama A Prophet told the story of a petty criminal who comes into his own during a stint in prison, using street smarts and violence to ascend within a gangster empire. Rust and Bone, his jaw-dropping follow-up, examines the dynamic between a sexy double-amputee (Marion Cotillard) and a freeloading brute and deadbeat dad who discovers a facility for small-time streetfighting (Matthias Schoenaerts of Bullhead fame, building a resume playing sensitive, twisted toughs). The movie is so enthrallingly bizarre that despite a penchant for aggressively taking notes on festival films I managed to jot down almost nothing over its 2+ hour running time. Audiard’s glum, dead-serious style glides right past the weirdness, frequently making me wonder just what exactly he is after here. The emotional conclusion hints at the answer. Audiard’s characters find redemption in precisely the qualities that led to their downfall: her hubris and his violence. This is a strange, singular film.
— Eugene Novikov