Review: Out of the Furnace

Out of the Furnace Out of the Furnace paints a good picture of a forgotten town, but leaves little to remember after you have left the theatre. It gives impressive performances throughout by Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, and an always entertaining Woody Harrelson, but somehow towards the middle, you start to wonder what this movie is trying to explain to you. I don't want to give too much away from people who have not yet seen this ,but I will start by saying the movie is far different from what the trailer made it out to be. The movie's hero is Russell Baze (Christian Bale) who is your typical small town steel-worker who leads the simple life. He wakes up next to his sexy girlfriend (Zoe Saldana), goes to work at the mill, goes to the bar, goes home then does it all over again. He has one concern in his life, and that is his little brother, Rodney (Casey Affleck), who cannot seem to stay out of trouble.

Rodney is lucky to have his brother bail him out when he's in too deep with all the unnecessary debts he has to pay with all of his gambling problems. He can't seem to control himself, but believes otherwise. One night Russell drives home from a normal night at the bar, he gets into a tragic accident. This obviously earns him some jail time so he spends years in there having to endure the news from time to time of life moving on. His girlfriend moves on, his brother goes overseas to fight in Iraq, and he handles the elements around him with reservation and acceptance. Christian Bale gives possibly his most modest performance to date. He plays an everyday hero who knows who he is and knows he's not anything more than a man working in his small town. As soon as he gets out, one thing has changed and one thing hasn't changed. The thing that has changed is that his old flame is now dating a cop and the thing that hasn't changed is that his brother is still being an asshole. He is now doing unlicensed underground fighting and he's exceptionally tough, but stubborn. His manager keeps telling him to lose fights, but just won't listen.

A series of fights eventually leads to him to Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson) who is pretty much pure evil at its most basic form. Woody Harrelson has given a lot of entertaining performances, but I'll be damned if anyone doesn't have a smile on their face whenever he comes onscreen. All eyes are on him. You know he will fuck somebody up. So Rodney's manager is able to arrange a fight where Harlan, go figure, instructs him to lose the fight.

I will state that I was not pleased with how the events went down in the final act and it seemed like it took way too long to get there. Midway through I was beginning to question the plot I derived from the trailer. When it came to the conclusion, I thought wow this is a totally different movie. But I will say this, the performances by Christian Bale and Woody Harrelson are worth enough the price of admission if you want to see top-notch acting. Just watch Russell hold back his emotions and slowly break down when he finally reunites with his ex-girlfriend. After that scene was over, I leaned over to the right and said to my brother, "God damn that is some good acting!" My brother said he was literally about to say the same exact thing.

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