directed by Jacques Audiard
Like Kathryn Bigelow, Jacques Audiard’s strength as a filmmaker comes from complexity and honesty, from a refusal to chip away at the prism until the audience is left with merely one color from the spectrum. And in addition to Audiard’s phenomenal knack to capture mood and pinpoint the weight of a moment is his ability to find the exact right talent for his film roles. Romain Duris was spellbinding in the amazing film The Beat That My Heart Skipped, as was Tahar Rahim in A Prophet. In Rust and Bone, Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts find a way to make magic out of every single frame. Cotillard’s Stéphanie is simply breathtaking, and I refuse to spoil anything for you, good reader, so you’ll just have to see the film to understand what I mean. Schoenaerts blew my mind once again, coming off a tremendous role in last year’s Bullhead (see this movie. See it right now) to play a man down on his luck, trying to find a way to become worthwhile. Both leads excel in being many things at many times in the film, heroes and villains, selfish and sincere, callous and caring, and both (due to such astonishing talent from both of them) manage to remain sympathetic, to remain people in whom we glimpse pieces of ourselves (better or worse). Rust and Bone is not a happy film, but there s a sense of clenched jawed optimism that resonates in a way that more generic films do not. One of my favorites of year.