REVIEW: OUT OF THE FURNACE
SYNOPSIS: From Scott Cooper, the critically acclaimed writer and director of Crazy Heart, comes a gripping and powerful drama about family, fate, circumstance and justice. Russell Baze (Oscar® Winner Christian Bale*) leads a dead-end life – he works a meaningless steel mill job all day, and cares for his terminally ill father at night. When Russell’s brother Rodney (Casey Affleck) returns home from Iraq, he is lured into one of the Northeast’s most ruthless crime rings and mysteriously disappears. When the police fail to solve the case, Russell puts his life at risk in order to seek justice for his brother. This absorbing film features a knockout cast that includes Woody Harrelson, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana and Sam Shepard.
REVIEW: Since his 2009 Oscar winning feature debut, Crazy Heart, director Scott Cooper returns with this latest effort, Out of the Furnace. It seems as though with this script he challenges us with its man vs. fate inevitability and gives us very familiar characters in very familiar scenarios via subtlety effective bits and pieces rather than charming us with dramatic flair or hysterical melodrama. In other words, this film is certainly not out to surprise or shock audiences. It simply presents interesting characters, in probable scenarios and their inevitable outcomes. Nevertheless, as predictable as this flick’s outcome may be (which oddly enough feels like watching a slow motion train wreck, but in an interesting way), Cooper’s skillful execution, keeps audiences at an emotional distance that can only be described as uncomfortable with a need to see the plot through to the end. It’s a movie that’s hard to look away from even in its slow execution style of filming; hence, my analogy of watching a slow motion train wreck.
While several of the cast members don’t quite make the splash one would expect, particularly Sam Shepard (Safe House, 2012) and Forest Whitaker (The Butler, 2013), the rest of the all-star cast swiftly makes up for it. Christian Bale, Casey Affleck (Tower Heist, 2011), Woody Harrelson and Zoe Saldana, are absolutely magnificent in their respective roles. Most notable is Bale presenting us with some of his finest work to date. He has got to be recognized for bringing such a broken character to life in this film with his over and above stellar performance. His presentation of the lead character simply feels realistic in every sense of the word. He just executed flawlessly, from beginning to end. And not to go unnoticed, is a strong albeit volatile supporting performance from
Affleck. He too is bringing his A-game, with one of the best performances of his career, in my humble opinion.
There’s a definite emotional energy threading its way through this latest Scott Cooper effort, like a repetitive nightmare that won’t go away. It is passionate in the sense of “family first,” it is perplexing whilst, being predictable and it is most certainly captivating with its performances. It’s not a movie to watch for new interesting and innovative ideas; it’s a movie to watch great actors executing a familiar story immaculately. It is certainly worth the visit to the theaters, but could also be a great date night
DVD. I for one believe that four out of five stars is certainly well deserved here.
By Movi-Man Stan
The film is
presented in widescreen in a 2.40:1 aspect ration preserving its
theatrical format. The picture is just flawless. Not only the
picture looks great in this release, also the sound it is good,
a 5.1 Dolby Digital in English that provides a good complement
to the picture. It also includes English
and Spanish subtitles.
Widescreen (2.40:1) 16x9
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1/DVS Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles - English Spanish
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Crafting the Fight Scenes
The Music of Out of the Furnace