Alain is taking his son from Belgium to Antibes to live with his sister. Once there he gets a job as a door guard at a night club, and one evening he comes to the aid of a lady in distress. That lady is Stephanie played brilliantly by Marion Cottillard (‘Contagion’ and ‘La vie en rose’). Stephanie is an Orca trainer or killer whale trainer as we used to call these beautiful creatures. She suffers an irreversible accident whilst at work and understandably falls off the radar and becomes a virtual recluse.
Then she calls up Alain and asks him to visit her as it was clear from the start that there was a spark. He duly obliges and a new relationship blossoms, however he needs some ready cash and turns to bare knuckle fist fights to make up the short fall. What develops is a deeply engrossing and engaging tale of a journey towards each other for the two main players.
This is a film by Jacques’ Audiard (‘A Prophet’ and ‘The Beat My Heart Skipped’) and he took his inspiration from two short stories by Canadian author Craig Davison, ‘Rust and Bone’ and ‘Rocket Ride’). He has made a wonderful film which has iconic shots subtle camera work and at its centre a fiercely strong performance from Cottillard that had me gripped from the very beginning. The shots of the whales are just amazing and whilst I don’t agree with such beautiful animals being held in captivity, I understand their place in this story.
There is so much in this film that if you blink you will miss something. The music is great too everything from John Cooper Clark, the B 52’s and Lykke Li. This is in French with really good sub titles. This got a fair run in cinemas too and I wish I had seen it on the big screen but seeing it is the main point, one of my friends said that it was hard work getting through some of the more painful scenes but that all the ‘effort’ was well and truly rewarded, I can only highly recommend.