Love is messy and chaotic

Rust and Bone - PA Photo/Studio Canal
Rust and Bone - PA Photo/Studio Canal

Film Review: Rust and Bone

Damon Smith takes a look at the week’s latest releases.

Film of the week

Rust and Bone (15, 122 mins) Drama/Romance. Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts, Armand Verdure, Corinne Masiero, Mourad Frarema, Celine Sallette. Director: Jacques Audiard.

Released: November 2 (UK & Ireland, selected cinemas).

Love is messy and chaotic in Jacques Audiard’s grimly compelling romance about two damaged souls who are thrown together just as their lives are falling apart.

Shot without a single drop of sentiment but a great deal of empathy, Rust And Bone captures the passion and roller-coaster emotions of the wayward characters as they wrestle with their predicaments.

Marion Cotillard, who won an Academy Award as Edith Piaf in La Vie En Rose and starred alongside Christian Bale this summer in The Dark Knight Rises, is a strong contender for another golden statuette.

She delivers a mesmerising and emotionally raw performance here as an aquatic trainer facing adversity.

Luminous big screen beauties, who are physically or emotionally disfigured for their art, have always been catnip to Oscar voters.Equally powerful is co-star Matthias Schoenaerts, who catalyses electrifying sexual chemistry with Cotillard in their on-screen couplings.

Sex scenes are sweaty, frenetic and almost animalistic - a tangle of limbs to mirror the cascade of emotions that consumes the couple and propels them down an unexpected path towards something that might be called a relationship.

Stephanie (Cotillard) trains killer whales but her close working relationship with these majestic creatures ends when one orca severs her legs, resulting in a double amputation.

An earlier one-night stand with hulking Belgian brute Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) - a single father who doesn’t know how to care for his six-year-old son Sam (Armand Verdure) - sows the seeds of an unconventional romance.

He has come to Antibes to forge a better life for the boy and is crashing with his estranged sister Anna (Corinne Masiero) and her husband, Foued (Mourad Frarema).

Ali ekes out a meagre living as a nightclub bouncer, making extra money in bare-knuckle brawls that leave him beaten to a bloody pulp.

When he encounters Stephanie after her accident, his complete lack of pity is a tonic.

“You want to make love? You call, you tell me,” Ali tells her matter of factly.

Adapted from a short story collection by Craig Davidson, Rust And Bone eschews crocodile tears by observing Stephanie and Ali’s dalliances with cool detachment.

Cotillard’s vulnerability contrasts with Schoenaerts’s rugged masculinity, and their scenes together ring true as Ali literally carries her towards physical rehabilitation.

“You OK, Robocop?” he asks tenderly as Stephanie acclimatises to her prosthetic limbs.

Audiard directs with aplomb - the scene in which Stephanie loses her legs, shot from the bottom of the crystal blue whale pool, is both beautiful and shocking.

He delivers another sharp jolt in the closing minutes, shattering any illusions that there is anything more than a pin prick of hope at the end of a very long tunnel for both characters.

:: Swearing :: Sex :: Violence :: Rating: 7.5/10

Also released...

Fun Size (12A, 90 mins)

Released: October 29 (UK & Ireland)

A teenager’s dreams of a Halloween party to remember with the boy of her dreams are shattered by the annoying presence her little brother in Josh Schwartz’s raucous comedy. Wren (Victoria Justice) is thrilled when dreamboat Aaron Riley (Thomas McDonell) invites her to a party but the youngster’s excitement is extinguished when her mother, Joy (Chelsea Handler), orders her to go trick-or-treating with her little brother Albert (Jackson Nicoll) instead. Begrudgingly, Wren agrees but she defies her mother’s orders and heads to the party with Albert in tow and promptly loses the oddball tyke. Terrified of the repercussions of Joy learning that she went to the party and lost her sibling, Wren borrows a car and enlists the help of her best friend April (Jane Levy) and school pals Peng (Osric Chau) and Roosevelt (Thomas Mann) to locate Albert and avert disaster.

For a Good Time, Call... (18, 85 mins)

Released: November 2 (UK & Ireland)

Lauren (Lauren Anne Miller) and Katie (Ari Graynor) have harboured mutual distrust verging on enmity since an unfortunate incident at college. Their fortunes couldn’t be more different. Lauren hails from privileged stock but a good upbringing doesn’t prevent her boyfriend from dumping her shortly before she loses her job. Meanwhile, Katie drives men wild with her pole-dancing antics and she makes decent cash on the side as an enthusiastic phone sex operator. Mutual gay friend Jesse (Justin Long) suggests that newly single Lauren moves in with Katie in her gorgeous Manhattan apartment. Reluctantly, Lauren agrees and when she overhears her new flat mate having far too much fun on the telephone, she decides to unleash her inner sex goddess. In the process, Lauren forges a deeper friendship with Katie and she sows the seeds of potential romance with a nice guy customer called Sean (Mark Webber).

Silent Hill: Revelation 3D (15, 94 mins)

Released: October 31 (UK & Ireland)

Michael J Bassett directs this sequel to the 2006 horror film Silent Hill, based on the popular video game series. Heather Mason (Adelaide Clemens) and her father Harry (Sean Bean) have been on the run from dark forces for most of their lives. The young woman doesn’t fully understand the chilling truth behind her fate, then on the eve of her 18th birthday, she endures terrifying nightmares and her father disappears without trace. Soon after, Heather discovers she isn’t who she thinks she is. Reluctantly, she ventures into an alternate dimension and the spooky town of Silent Hill, where she encounters Leonard (Malcolm McDowell) and Claudia Wolf (Carrie-Anne Moss) and learns that her father is actually Christopher Da Silva, whose wife Rosa (Radha Mitchell) ventured into this hellish realm to cure her daughter’s nightmares.

The Shining (15, 143 mins)

Released: November 2 (UK & Ireland, selected cinemas)

Repeatedly voted one of the greatest horror films of all time, Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s best-selling novel was originally released in 1980 on this side of the Atlantic. The notoriously perfectionist director then took this original 119-minute cut and created a longer 144-minute version, which he felt was closer to King’s chilling, hallucinogenic source text. For the first time, this extended cut plays for a limited time in UK and Irish cinemas for a limited time as the perfect Halloween treat. Jack Nicholson plays Jack Torrance, who takes up a position as winter caretaker of the Overlook Hotel in order to concentrate on writing a book. He brings along his wife Wendy (Shelley Duvall) and his gifted son Danny (Danny Lloyd). As snow falls and the temperature plummets, Jack experiences strange visions in Room 237, which slowly drive him to the brink of insanity.

Keep the Lights On (18, 102 mins)

Released: November 2 (UK, selected cinemas)

Drawn from the painful personal experiences of writer-director Ira Sachs, Keep The Lights On chronicles a turbulent relationship over the course of nine years, opening in 1998 with Danish documentary film-maker Erik (Thure Lindhardt) scouting for anonymous sex in New York. One hook-up is closeted lawyer Paul (Zachary Booth), who confesses, “I have a girlfriend”, then becomes a permanent fixture in Erik’s topsy-turvy life. The initial sexual heat between the two men cools as Paul’s crack habit escalates and Sachs’s picture reduces to artful chapters steeped in misery, portraying Erik as either a saint or masochist for continually taking back deeply unsympathetic Paul into his bed. Comparisons to Weekend are inevitable but Keep The Lights On lacks the strong emotional undertow and romanticism of that picture.

Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana (12A, 137 mins)

Released: November 2 (UK, selected cinemas)

Sameer Sharma directs a Hindi comedy about a young man attempting to cover up his shameful deeds from the past. Omi Khurana (Kunal Kapoor) harks from a village in the Punjab but he ran away from home 10 years ago to London in search of fame and fortune, paying his way using money he stole from his doting grandfather, Darji (Vinod Nagpal). A decade later, Omi owes a small fortune to a dangerous gangster so he flees back home to discover that his grandfather is going senile and has forgotten the secret recipe to Chicken Khurana, a special dish on which the family’s restaurant depends. Adding to Omi’s woes, his beautiful childhood sweetheart, Harman (Huma Qureshi), is poised to marry his cousin, Jeet (Rahul Bhagga). Weighed down by the guilt of his former misdeeds, Omi must extract the secret recipe from Darji, win back Harman and pay off his debts to avoid a serious beating.

Excision (18, 81 mins)

Released: November 2 (UK, selected cinemas)

Richard Bates Jr writes and directs this deranged horror about a high school student harbouring terrifying blood-related fantasies. Pauline (AnnaLynne McCord) is alienated from her parents Phyllis (Traci Lords) and Bob (Roger Bart) and she is a sitting duck for her principal (Ray Wise) and teachers (Malcolm McDowell and Matthew Gray Gubler). The one person that Pauline connects with is her younger sister, Grace (Ariel Winter), who has cystic fibrosis and is in need of a lung transplant. While Pauline nurtures dreams of a career in medicine so she can ease Grace’s suffering, she also hankers for handsome jock Adam (Jeremy Sumpter), who just happens to be the boyfriend of one of the most popular girls in school (Molly McCook).

Call Me Kuchu (12A, 87 mins)

Released: November 2 (UK, selected cinemas)

On January 26, 2011, Ugandan activist David Kato was killed in his home after years of vociferously campaigning to repeal Uganda’s homophobic laws. Kato worked tirelessly to promote the interests of fellow lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender men and women and to oppose a new Anti-Homosexuality Bill in the Uganda Parliament, which proposed that HIV-positive gay men should be condemned to death and anyone who didn’t out a homosexual or “kuchu” within their community should be imprisoned. Documentary film-makers Katherine Fairfax Wright and Malika Zouhali-Worrall followed Kato for the final year of his inspiring life and their film is a testament to his boundless energy and determination to give men and women in his country a voice and bring to an end the prejudice and bloodshed.

Tempest (12A, 76 mins)

Released: November 2 (UK, selected cinemas)

Drama blends with documentary in Anthony Fletcher and Rob Curry’s celebration of contemporary urban youth culture. Seventeen young actors from south London unite to re-imagine Shakespeare’s last great play for the 21st century. As the Oval is transformed into the enchanted island where all of the action takes place, sorcerer Prospero (Zephryn Taitte) casts his spell over the monster Caliban (Emily Sarah Wallis and Roy A Weise) and protects his daughter Miranda (Paris Campbell) from shipwrecked brother Antonio (Charlotte Gallagher). Love blossoms between Miranda and Ferdinand (Nathan Wharton), the son of King of Naples (Jummi Bolaji), and Caliban forges ties with the king’s jester Trinculo (Kieran Edwards) and steward Stephano (Stef O’Driscoll).

The Master (15, 143 mins)

Released: November 2 (London Odeon West End exclusively); November 16 (UK & Ireland)

If art is judged on its ability to provoke debate then Paul Thomas Anderson makes great art. From his eye-catching 1997 portrait of the adult entertainment industry, Boogie Nights, to the bombast of There Will Be Blood, the Californian writer-director has consistently challenged us. With The Master, he incurs the wrath of the Church of Scientology, which has campaigned vociferously against this emotionally wrought tale of cult leader Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), who welcomes sailor Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) into the fold as his “guinea pig and protege” despite the warnings of his wife Peggy (Amy Adams), who recognises Freddie as a damaged and emotionally volatile soul. What follows is a demonstration of virtuoso film-making anchored by tour-de-force performances from Phoenix, Hoffman and Adams that will be vying for Oscar consideration.

East End Babylon (18, 101 mins)

Released: November 6 (UK, selected cinemas)

Formed in the late 1970s by brothers Jeff and Micky Geggus in the East End of London, punk rock band Cockney Rejects courted controversy for the violence depicted in their lyrics, which frequently spilled off the stage and incited brawls between members of the audience. They derided politicians and embraced their passion for West Ham United in Are You Ready To Ruck, Fighting In The Street, Police Car and War On The Terraces, which often drew rival crews to their gigs intent on causing trouble. Tensions exploded with devastating consequences after one gig in Birmingham, which led to criminal charges and the end to the group’s touring commitments. Music producer Richard England makes his directorial debut with this documentary about the band, which expands into a rich history of the East End and a portrait of the generations who lived around the largest docks in the world and refused to be beaten down by their circumstances.

Argo (15, 120 mins)

Released: November 7 (UK & Ireland)

Ben Affleck is a front-runner for Best Director at next year’s Academy Awards for his superlative work on this gripping thriller based on real-life events following the 1979 storming of the US Embassy in Tehran. Militants break through the barricades and hold 52 Americans hostage. Six members of staff - Bob Anders (Tate Donovan), Joe Stafford (Scoot McNairy), Kathy Stafford (Kerry Bishe), Mark Lijek (Christopher Denham), Cora Lijek (Clea DuVall) and Lee Schatz (Roy Cochrane) - escape to the nearby residence of the Canadian ambassador, Ken Taylor (Victor Garber), and hide in a basement crawl space while they await news from the outside world. CIA extractor Tony Mendez (Affleck) concocts an elaborate scheme to rescue the sextet from the danger zone: he will pose as a film producer who has come to Iran to scout for locations for a sci-fi epic called Argo. The six members of stranded embassy staff will pose as his crew and they will leave the country together under false passports. Bona fide Hollywood producer Lester Siegel (Alan Arkin) and make-up artist John Chambers (John Goodman) throw their weight behind Argo to give the plan credence but when it comes to the crunch, all of Tony’s smooth talking might not be enough to save the embassy staff from the Iranian death squads.

The Sapphires (PG, 103 mins)

Released: November 7 (UK & Ireland)

Based on Tony Briggs’s 2004 stage play, The Sapphires is a feel-good comedy about four Aboriginal girls who discovered their voices entertaining troops in Vietnam. Booze-sodden Irish talent scout Dave (Chris O’Dowd) discovers Gail McCrae (Deborah Mailman) and her sisters Cynthia (Miranda Tapsell) and Julie (Jessica Mauboy) singing in a pub talent contest, where the white audience refuses to acknowledge their efforts. Ambitious 17-year-old Julie persuades Dave to put them forward for auditions to entertain the troops behind enemy lines. He persuades the girls to recruit their estranged cousin Kay (Shari Sebbens) and rechristens the group as The Sapphires. Dave ditches the girl’s country repertoire and turns them on to soul music including What A Man by Linda Lyndell. The Sapphires go down a storm overseas and man-eater Cynthia catches the eye of soldier Robby (Tory Kittles).