The ex-soldier Rodney Baze Jr. (Affleck) takes up bare-knuckle boxing to pay off debts, where he comes into contact with mobster Harlan DeGroat (Harrelson)
Writer-director Scott Cooper’s second film, after the Jeff Bridges music drama Crazy Heart, is an ambitious portrait of crime and class in contemporary America.
‘Out of The Furnace‘ is a quality production, with awards-bid performances from Bale and Affleck to prove it… but, as signalled by the curiously unmemorable title, it flounders while trying to come up with a story to embody the things it wants to say about the sorry state of modern America. Worth seeing, but a near-miss.
From Scott Cooper, the critically-acclaimed writer and director of Crazy Heart, comes a gripping and gritty drama about family, fate, circumstance, and justice. Russell Baze (Christian Bale) has a rough life: he works a dead-end blue collar job at the local steel mill by day, and cares for his terminally ill father by night. When Russell’s brother Rodney (Casey Affleck) returns home from serving time in Iraq, he gets lured into one of the most ruthless crime rings in the Northeast and mysteriously disappears. The police fail to crack the case, so – with nothing left to lose – Russell takes matters into his own hands, putting his life on the line to seek justice for his brother. The impressive cast of Christian Bale and Woody Harrelson are rounded out by Casey Affleck, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana and Sam Shepard. (c) Relativity
Rating: R (for strong violence, language and drug content)
Directed By: Scott Cooper
Written By: Scott Cooper
In Theaters: Dec 6, 2013 Wide
Cast: Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Forest, Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoë
Runtime: 116 minutes
What are the Critics saying?
Ed Gibbs (Sydney Morning Herald)
Christian Bale still makes this rather run-of-the-mill proposition appealing, regardless of how oddly unfashionable he may currently be.
Peter Bradshaw (Guardian)
It’s a picture with weight – perhaps more weight than bite.
Cath Clarke (Time Out)
Aims for Bruce Springsteen with its blue-collar big themes and stadium-rock emotion but ends up as a bandana-wearing cliché.
Wesley Morris (Grantland)
This is a movie that might have been a great drama at four hours with a more ambitious script and a director with a vision or something to say.