Ever-enterprising French writer-director Jacques Audiard follows his brilliant crime picture A Prophet with his rather particular take on a modern love story, handled in characteristically abrasive and original fashion.
After high-profile assignments for Christopher Nolan in Hollywood, leading lady Marion Cotillard returns to France for perhaps the most challenging assignment of her career, as a biologist who loses both legs in a freak accident at a waterpark tourist attraction. Unlikely salvation arrives in the form of Matthias Schoenaerts, a part-time bouncer and reluctant single parent who sees a money-making opportunity in the bare-knuckle boxing game.
Schoenaerts’ character is a kindred spirit to De Niro’s Jake LaMotta from Raging Bull, someone who exists purely through physicality and lacks any kind of moral responsibility as a dad or a lover. Cotillard’s daunting plight awakens her fighting spirit too however, but the on-off couple’s fluid circumstances are not to be tamed so easily. Full-on performances sell this compelling and confrontational offering from a modern great.