RUST AND BONE brings back an ages old debate about film adaptation. Can a movie be too faithful to a story? The main issue I had with RUST AND BONE is the way its been edited. There is too much happening and the chain of events tumbles down way too fast and it confines the characters to short, quick scenes. Should Jacques Audiard have made RUST AND BONE deliberately a bit slower and gave more space to its characters? I think so, but I'm positively biased for slower movies. The pace is slacking about two thirds into the film and scenes started to grow longer. I thought the most visceral moments happened right there as Audiard left the camera on his actors long enough and trusted them to carry the emotions. It doesn't always happen earlier as everything moves very fast, because Audiard's main concern is to tell the story. He kind of got in the way of what could have been beautiful, dramatic moments. RUST AND BONE is heavily character driven and Audiard doesn't seem to get that.
So the penultimate question. Is it worth watching? Absolutely. RUST AND BONE is a beautiful, tainted, visceral romance that doesn't try to play with your emotions. It talks about straight, unadulterated, powerful emotions. Sure, the execution could have been better. The movie doesn't carry all the violent beauty of Craig Davidson's characters, but it does a part of the job and tied my stomach into a knot three or four times. In the end, if a movie is powerful enough to give you an irrational bodily reaction about it, it did something right. Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts are brilliant, subtle and keep you on their hook. Some critics deplored Schoenaerts game for being expressionless, but don't believe the hype. He does just enough to represent what kind of man Ali is and he lets pain through at a slow but regular pace. RUST AND BONE feels real and won't let you down. Not exactly a turn-your-brain-off movie though. It requires your intellectual participation. Go see that stupid RED DAWN reboot if movies are an excuse to be fed thoughts for you. But if it isn't, give RUST AND BONE a try.