Movie review: Rust and Bone

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From the January 31, 2013 edition

Post-Oscar announcements, “Rust and Bone” comes to Columbus with less fanfare than it deserves.

Marion Cotillard was thought to have a good shot at a Best Actress nod. Didn’t happen. And France picked “The Intouchables” as its official entry, so no Foreign Language nod for the film.

Well, even if you aren’t going to see it to check it off your Oscar list, you should still see it.

Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) is a single dad struggling to provide for his young son. He scrapes by on brawny jobs, like working as a nightclub bouncer. He forms an unlikely bond with Stephanie, a killer whale trainer, that grows strangely deeper after an accident claims both her legs.

Director Jacques Audiard (“A Prophet”) navigates some challenging plot twists that may put off some audiences. It’s a movie that is both tender and brutal — often at the same time.

His lead performances are simply superb. Cotillard probably garnered more press for being a known American commodity (“The Dark Knight Rises”), but Schoenaerts is no less enthralling.

And I have to tip my hat to a film that uses both a Bon Iver track and “Firework” by Katy Perry to peak dramatic effect.

Yes, the Academy ignored “Rust and Bone” … you shouldn’t make the same mistake.