Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Alternate Best Actor 2012: Matthias Schoenaerts in Rust and Bone

Matthias Schoenaerts did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Ali in Rust and Bone.

Rust and Bone is an effective film which follows the relationship between a poor amateur boxer and an Orca trainer who lost her legs due to an accident.

The last time I reviewed Matthias Schoenaerts it was for his great work in Bullhead as Jacky a man who spoke with his body and his fists more often than his mouth. Once again in a leading role Schoenaerts plays a deeply physical role, though this time as a rather different character in Ali who perhaps lives in a more typical situation. Ali after all is introduced in a series of scenes depicting him, along with his very young son Sam, going to live with his older sister. There is nothing notable at first about Ali other than the man is obviously living in poverty. Even with this poverty in mind Schoenaerts is dealing with a less innately troubled soul here as shown when we follow him as he begins work as a bouncer in a club. This is where Ali first comes across the Orca Trainer Stéphanie, before her accident, played to perfection by Marion Cotillard as usual. Schoenaerts brings such considerable charm this time around, playing so well an innate likability within Ali in this interaction. Unlike in Bullhead, purposefully so there, Schoenaerts is able to capture a more extroverted spirit and does so effectively by providing within the charm this underlying concern that makes Ali all the more appealing.

Outside of that potentially romantic setting though we see the rest of Ali which Schoenaerts paints in less appealing strokes. What Schoenaerts does here though is avoid any simplification in his portrayal of Ali the rest of the time. This is particularly notable in his scenes with his son Sam where Schoenaerts creates the complexity of the relationship in his performance. He carefully portrays the sort of affection you'd expect from a good father when ever he is interacting with his son in a carefree situation. Whenever his son though requires Ali to directly inconvenience himself and has to deal with the responsibility of his son Schoenaerts reveals a worse side to Ali. He doesn't reveal a different man though in that he manages to portray not an exact contradiction. Schoenaerts instead directly portrays this lack of maturity within these interactions. As he presents Ali's frustrations as these quick reactions without any thought behind them.  Schoenaerts in these moments depicts a lack of sort of the logical connections within Ali as it's less being a bad father, though it is that as well, but rather being detached from the idea of being one.

Schoenaert's performance in those moments even interestingly causes you to reexamine his seeming charm from earlier. Although Schoenaerts does not reveal that to be a facade, he does show it to be Ali as man without concern, and that that charm most strongly comes out when in that state of mind. Schoenaerts seems to win the viewer over again though in the scenes he shares with Stéphanie as he sees her after the accident, and takes her to go swimming. Schoenaerts chemistry with Cotillard is something truly remarkable and unique here. In that in the early scenes they are together, past the first scene, they speak to one another certainly but that's not where the connection lies. The connection lies in the physical, and not only the most obvious aspect. The way Schoenaerts interacts with Cotillard when he is just helping around, particularly swimming in the ocean there is this symbiosis. The two seem so complete in these moments and there is this natural joy within the interaction. This does though extend to the obvious of an eventual sexual relationship as well. There is something so powerful in the intimacy they find that again is found within their performances that seem as one in the realization of the solace the two have within each other's presence in these moments.

Schoenaerts excels in terms of the physicality of his performance with Cotillard and his scenes where we see Ali fighting for money. Ali explains he's fighting for cash, but also something more which Schoenaerts seems to purposefully deliver this as a haphazard explanation. The far better explanation comes when we actually see him in the fight itself and Schoenaerts delivers the thrill of the moment as Ali gets into the action. In these moments Schoenaerts shows such passion in the heat of though just for the thrill of it, and it is with this though that Schoenaerts further develops the flaw of the character. In that with those moments purely of the physical whether it is fighting, swimming or sex, Ali seems to most connect with life, but Schoenaerts presents the problem with this though by garnering it some superficiality particularly with Ali's other dalliances. Schoenaerts makes the problematic nature of Ali quite intriguing because he doesn't condemn the behavior but rather the context of it. Even after it seems he and Stéphanie are beginning to connect Ali will go with another woman in front of her. Again it's interesting in that Schoenaerts makes this  understandable yet just as painful of an action, by showing Ali's failure to understand his behavior beyond a certain point.

Ali's often selfish ways though catch up with him as he accidentally gets his own sister fired from her job, and he is forced some other path. The film jumps ahead in time to reveal Ali attempting to become a professional boxer but goes to spend some time with his son who has been living with his sister. In their time together an accident occurs where Sam falls through ice on a frozen lake. Schoenaerts is astonishing in this scene as he captures the pure visceral intensity of the moment. The moment has such an impact as Schoenaerts is so within the scene in his powerful portrayal of the breakdown emotionally but he also captures the physical anguish as he exhausts himself to save his son. Schoenaerts is equally heartbreaking moments later as he speaks to Stéphanie over the phone and he finally reveals the man without any barrier of irresponsibility within him. Schoenaerts is incredibly moving as he depicts Ali finally connecting all the way through almost losing his son, and in doing so naturally completes Ali's arc to a better man than he had been. When we see Ali with Stéphanie and his son at the end of the film it is an earned happy ending. Schoenaerts earns it by so vividly portraying the man's moment of clarity.  This is a great performance by Matthias Schoenaerts on his own yet achieves even greater heights through the poignant and unique relationship he is able to bring to life with Marion Cotillard.

82 comments:

Luke Higham said...

Yes, a second five for Matthias. :)
Louis: Your ratings and thoughts on the rest of the cast.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Excellent work from him and Cotillard.

Luke Higham said...

Another five for Cotillard as well, haha. :)

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Do you consider Cotillard Lead or Supporting.

Luke Higham said...

I look forward to watching him in Radegund with Diehl.

Louis: I'd recommend watching his work in Disorder from 2015.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I'd say Cotillard was definitely lead. She had the entire section no act essentially to herself.

Luke Higham said...

Robert: I agree with you, I never really got the argument by some, that she was supporting.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: I have to admit, I'm somewhat surprised that Bardem in Biutiful didn't make your top ten disappointing list, though perhaps, it's because you weren't impressed with him in Before Night Falls.

Charles Heiston said...

Phenomenal work from both Matthias and Marion.

And i'm one of those few(Along with Calvin and Psifonian) that actually likes Bardem in Biutiful.

Alex Marqués said...

I think I need to rewatch this. And to answer Robert previous question, I liked Heat an awful lot when I saw it a couple of years ago, and I want to rewatch it.

Calvin Law said...

Great performance I actually need to rewatch, and great review. Are you looking forward to his 2017 collaborations with Roskam and Vinterberg?

Calvin Law said...

Yeah IMO Bardem in Biutiful is probably my 2nd favourite performance of his.

Calvin Law said...

Ah just realized Kursk isn't coming out till next year, well then The Racer and the Jailbird should be intriguing.

moviefilm said...

1) Mikkelsen (Hunt)
2) Schoenaerts
3) Mikkelsen (Affair)
4) Jones
5) Courtenay

This year seems so easy to predict, that it might surprise us all.

Calvin Law said...

Also changing my predictions

1. Mikkelsen (The Hunt)
2. Schoenaerts
3. Jones
4. Mikkelsen (A Royal Affair)
5. Courtenay

Alex Marqués said...

1.Mikkelsen (The Hunt)
2.Schoenaerts
3.Mikkelsen (A Royal Affair)
4.Jones
5.Courtenay

Calvin Law said...

Louis: thoughts and ratings on the cast of A League of Their Own?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

Louis: The top ten films you feel are endlessly rewatchable, and the top ten films you feel improve on rewatches.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Last night's Fargo might be the funniest episode the series has had.

Mitchell Murray said...

Really strong performance from him. And looking back, this might be my favourite work of Cotillard too.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your rating for Ian Holm in Henry V.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: for a 2010s Schindler's List, what do you make of Schoenaerts as Schindler, Fassbender as Goeth, Rylance as Stern?

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: I'd very much like that, though it would be interesting to see Dan Stevens as Goeth, since he reminds me an awful lot of Ralph Fiennes.

Calvin Law said...

Yes, actually, Stevens might be even better. His youthful good looks merged with an icy chilly villain would be quite something.

Calvin Law said...

He'd also be great in a 2010s Quiz Show, with Paul Rudd in Rob Morrow's role and Joaquin Phoenix in Turturro's.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: While you're writing Mikkelsen's review for The Hunt, could you mention his Cannes win at the beginning.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Are there any supporting performances from 2012 that could go up to a 4.5.

Alex Marqués said...

So, Will Smith on the jury of Cannes this year... what the hell? I mean, nothing against him as a person, but...

Luke Higham said...

Alex: I can't say it bothers me to be honest.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your rating for Eli Wallach in Mystic River.

Alex Marqués said...

Luke: Me neither, good for him. I just find it out of place.

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how this guy is so good at accents.

Anonymous said...

Alex: I might not be a big fan of him as an actor, but it doesn't bother me if he's a jury at Cannes.

Anonymous said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Adam West as the Grey Ghost, Ed Asner as Granny Goodness and Nicholle Tom as Supergirl.

Luke Higham said...

Charles: Your thoughts on Mads Mikkelsen in Flame And Citron. I only got your thoughts on The Hunt and A Royal Affair.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: I guess you're not seeing The Circle anytime soon. Reviews aren't good.

Charles Heiston said...

Luke: Must've slipped my mind.

Flame and Citron(Another great performance from Mikkelson, Mikkelsen has some great moments in which he assures to protect his family from the impending dangers, and his sad and sly delivery saying that he may never come back is heartbreaking and somehow chilling in just how unassuming it is, for most of the film he is calculated and solid, but his final moments are phenomenal.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Cotillard - 5(She's clearly lead to me, though she has a little less screentime, she's just as important to the overall film. Again to reiterate her chemistry with Schoenaerts is incredible, once again such a shame that he wasn't her co-star in Allied, would've made for a far more believable Canadian but I digress. Anyway I love this performance as per usual from Cotillard her presence just commands the screen. Here she successfully depicts some rapid fire changes yet does not waste any part of this. This includes her initial scene where she depicts so well the desperation within her allure. After the accident she brings the severity of her grief as she shows Stephanie as almost wholly spent in such an understated yet powerful fashion as she plays it as almost regressing into herself. She's terrific though in depicting the slow and difficult mental recovery throughout the film. Again there is no moment in which she glides over finding the poignancy and power of depicting her slowly gain the strength to carry on as well as find joy again in that chemistry with Schoenaerts.)

Yeah I suspected something was up when it was taking so long for reviews to come out. I probably will watch it eventually for Hanks though.

Had not seen much from Bardem when I first saw Biutiful.

Sure I'll include it.

Maybe, we'll see.

Holm - 4
Wallach - 3

Calvin:

Very much so.

I think I covered Hanks in 92 supporting results.

Davis - 3(Her performance is very straight forward though she's good in that straight forwardness though. A slight comedic edge that's nice, with enough of an emotional undercurrent, nothing amazing but good.)

Petty - 3.5(Technically has the more emotional role and she handles it quite well particularly in her reactions throughout the final game. As she says so much just in those reactions between her and Davis though I feel Petty brings a bit more to those moments.)

Madonna - 2.5(Don't really love her much as an actor. She's okay but doesn't make much of an impact out of the crying scene which belongs to Hanks anyway.)

O'Donnell - 2(You know I have to say one thing I'm glad we lost from the 90's was regular acting appearances from Rosie O'Donnell. She always gave the same type of performance and I always found that more grating than entertaining.)

Robert:

Agreed.

Tahmeed:

Rewatchable:

1. Back to the Future
2. The Princess Bride
3. Jaws
4. Jurassic Park
5. Amadeus(The proper cut only)
6. Goodfellas
7. Hot Fuzz
8. Every Rocky sans five
9. A Christmas Story
10. Stalag 17

Most Beneficial(though that does not mean I disliked them the first time):

1. Blade Runner
2. Red Beard
3. JFK
4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
5. The Big Lebowski
6. A Serious Man (Common with the Coens)
7. Hud
8. The Royal Tenenbaums
9. The Conversation
10. Barton Fink

Anonymous:

West - (Great work from him and I hate when people handwave his abilities because he's best known for a purposefully comedic turn that so many seem to misunderstand. Anyway here he delivers a performance without winking and actually is quite moving in offering such genuine sorrow in depicting a guy whose being forgotten by basically everyone. He brings so much to the episode as his vocal performance manages to convey someone finding a bit of meaning, West's work suggests just a little bit not a lot, which makes all the more poignant.)

Asner - (Effective in terms of the casting itself as he makes Granny Goodness such an unpleasant and off putting character. The character is fairly one note past that point but what Asner does there is quite good.)

Tom - (Really like her work as she captures the same sort of spirit as Daly managed to do so. In that she brings sort of that purity of spirit and optimism in her voice yet with just the right touches of humor not to appear to constrictive.)

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your thoughts on Holm in Henry V and could you include him in the 89' supporting ranking.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Is Sissy Spacek still your favourite actress.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Could I have your ratings for the rest of the Henry V cast (1989) with the exceptions of Jacobi, Scofield and Coltrane.

Robert MacFarlane said...

Louis: What were your thoughts on Fargo last night?

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

I'll say yes, by the skin of a Dark Knight Rises death scene.

Holm - (Holm's take on the character is quite remarkable though as he manages to infuse such a palatable pathos within the often comical character. He fulfills that need to be sure yet he finds the sadness within the humor so effectively. He's especially great in the moment where they discover the murdered boys.)

Blessed - (He's good as the loyal supportive right hand man type but it boggles my mind why he was not chosen for Falstaff.)

Dench - 2.5(She does not have a great deal to do. She's more than decent but just mostly there.)

Thompson - (Great chemistry with Branagh though she's mainly there to offer a bit of sweetness which she brings with such ease and grace.)

Bale - 3(The boy's a limited role but Bale makes the most of what he does have particularly in his during the battle.)

Robert:

Loved it. Though the plot's just getting started, and we haven't gotten as much to the "dramatic" side of the Coens style this season yet, I'm loving it on the comedy side of things, though comedy with many deaths. Whether it is either brother's hapless separate involvement in crimes, Michael Stuhlbarg's accidental crash after his purposeful one, or Winstead's sunny encouragement towards crimes I was thoroughly entertained. My favorite performance/scenes though have been Thewlis, love his sleazy and menacing wordsmith.

Robert MacFarlane said...

I'm not actually sure if I like Thewlis yet. His performance feels a tad much. Winstead is pretty easily the MVP for me at the moment.

Calvin Law said...

Louis: cast for a 2010s version of Trading Places?

Tahmeed Chowdhury said...

I'm kind of late to the Fargo party, and because of final exams, I won't be able to start the series before the 23rd of next month.

Calvin Law said...

Same boat in Tahmeed (kinda). Though I am heading off to watch Guardians now :)

Good luck Tahmeed!

Alex Marqués said...

Good luck with the exams guys!

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Trading Places Directed by Jordan Peele:

Billy Ray Valentine: Keegan-Michael Key
Louis Winthorpe: Jason Segel
Ophelia: Allison Williams
Beeks: Shea Whigham
Coleman: Jim Broadbent
Randolph Duke: Terence Stamp
Mortimer Duke: Malcolm McDowell

Calvin Law said...

Guardians 2: wonderful. But I won't give thoughts till more people have seen it.

Pratt: 4
Salanda: 3.5
Bautista: 4.5
Cooper: 3.5
Gillian: 3
Rooker: 4.5
Debicki: 3
Sullivan: 3
Gunn: 3.5
Russell: 4
Stallone: 3

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: Looking forward to it. I've heard Rooker was MVP by some sources.

Calvin Law said...

He probably is, though I loved Bautista too.

Also, 3.5 for Klementieff.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: Can't wait for Bautista's reprise and hope he got a really good role in Blade Runner 2049.

Calvin Law said...

Stamp and McDowell are inspired choices.

Alex Marqués said...

Really liked the second episode of Fargo. The entire cast is pretty good/great but I think Winstead is the MVP so far.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Rating and thoughts on John Lone in Iceman.

Charles Heiston said...

Can't wait for Guardians either.

Luke Higham said...

Saw Guardians, The first 2 acts were great and the 3rd was more of a mixed bag. It's a very enjoyable sequel and the acting was much stronger overall this time. I do however, prefer the original as it had more entertainment value on the whole as well as the surprise factor.

I think it's slightly underrated, to be honest.

Pratt - 4
Saldana - 3/3.5
Cooper - 3.5 (I prefer his work in the first film a bit more, due to the heartbreak he felt when Groot was about to sacrifice himself)
Bautista - 4/4.5 (He's terrific once again, though underused in the third act)
Rooker - 4.5 (MVP)
Russell - 4 (Major Upgrade over Pace)
Klementieff - 3.5
Gillan - 3 (Much better this time)
Sullivan - 2.5
Gunn - 3.5 (Liked him alot here)
Debicki - 3
Stallone - 3 (Hope he gets an expanded role in Vol. 3)

Calvin Law said...

Agree that Gillan was a massive improvement. However, I still feel she should use her normal accent.

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: Phase 3 has been terrific so far.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Your 2000/10s cast for a film about the Marauders. (Harry Potter)

Robert MacFarlane said...

Do the Potter films follow the exact timing of the books? Because the Marauders were only 21 when James and Lily died.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Go with either the books or the films if you want.

Luke Higham said...

Robert: I'd go with the films personally, as they're clearly much older. He could probably cast James at 16-18 and 28-35.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Can I have a list of 10 actors that you wish you could've seen more of.

Luke Higham said...

I have Paul Scofield (Didn't do as much film work than I would've wanted him to but respect him for putting his family first. I've seen clips of him as Salieri and would've been brilliant if Amadeus had been made in the 70s), Robert Shaw, John Cazale, Laird Cregar and Heath Ledger on my list.

Charles Heiston said...

Luke: My list would be

1. John Cazale
2. Robert Shaw
3. Montgomery Clift
4. James Dean
5. Paul Scofield
6. Phillip Seymour Hoffman
7. Heath Ledger
8. Sydney Greenstreet
9. Sal Mineo
10. Gary Poulter

Luke Higham said...

I honestly think Robert Shaw would've been Louis' favourite actor of all-time, if he hadn't passed so soon.

Matt Mustin said...

Richard Jordan will probably be on Louis' list.

Louis Morgan said...

Luke:

Lone - 4.5(Although I found the film very flimsy I was quite impressed with this performance since he managed to not make a fool of himself given the nature of the role. Lone managed not to be just a serious of grunts, although he did that rather well. He goes much further with his performance giving so much humanity within the caveman and manages to easily overcome the heavy makeup of the role to actually give an emotionally captivating turn despite the restrictions of the character, and the weakness of the overall film.)

Going with the film's older timeline:

James: Jack O'Connell
Lupin: Nicholas Hoult
Sirius Black: Alfie Allen
Peter Pettigrew: Taron Egerton
Voldermort: Frank Dillane

Raul Julia
John Cazale
Laird Cregar
Richard Jordan
Louis Wolheim
Heath Ledger
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Paul Scofield
Robert Shaw
John Lone (Come back)

Luke Higham said...

Louis: There's three performances left from Robert Shaw that I'd recommend watching/reviewing. The Caretaker (1963), Battle Of The Bulge (1965) and The Birthday Party (1968). There's also Figures In A Landscape (1970) and A Reflection Of Fear (1972).

Calvin Law said...

He's AMAZING in The Caretaker.

Calvin Law said...

9 minute monologue he absolutely kills.

Calvin Law said...

Louis and all: if I'm going to start on a superhero show at some point, is Legion the surefire recommendation?

Calvin Law said...

Because I just saw a bit of the silent movie sequence and it looks AMAZING

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: I'd say so.

Louis Morgan said...

Calvin:

Yes, without a second thought.

Luke Higham said...

Louis: Is the next review coming shortly.

Calvin Law said...

Let's not rush Louis Luke :)

Calvin Law said...

But thanks all :)

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: I know, but I so want that first Mikkelsen review posted soon. :)

Luke Higham said...

Calvin: BTW, did you get around to watching War & Peace.