French actress Marion Cotillard, who won the Academy Award for La Vie en Rose and starred in Christopher Nolan's the Dark Knight Rises, stars in Jacques Audiard's Rust and Bone (De rouille et d'os) in a killer performance as a killer whale trainer that will probably put her right back in the Oscars again.
But it's her counterpart Matthias Schoenaerts, who plays Ali, the Belgian unemployed street fighter that seems to f*ck up everything he touches, who could receive a nod from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences this year. This should put him toe to toe with Les Miserables' Hugh Jackman, Lincoln's Daniel Day-Lewis and Argo's Ben Affleck — during the 85th Academy Awards to be held on February 24, 2013.
Schoenaerts' Ali goes from homeless single father, to nightclub bouncer, to union-busting tug in a way that gives the impression that acting is the easiest thing in the world. This is a refreshing revelation for an American viewer, since we are used to more forceful performances (think Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now), and just recently have been treated to subtle yet superb performances — such as Javier Barden's in No Country for Old Men and Michael Fassbender's in Shame.
Cotillard is just like the Katy Perry's song that ironically (and perfectly) fits the French drama's soundtrack — A Firework! She, and Audiard's stunning camerawork are the other two reasons to watch this movie (if one wants to take a break from the big blockbusters).