Out of the Furnace (2013)

outofthefurnace_2013_poster
Out of the Furnace (2013)
  • Time: 116 min
  • Genre: Crime | Drama | Thriller
  • Director: Scott Cooper
  • Cast: Christian Bale, Zoe Saldana, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe, Forest Whitaker, Sam Shepard

Storyline:

Russell and his younger brother Rodney live in the economically-depressed Rust Belt, and have always dreamed of escaping and finding better lives. But when a cruel twist of fate lands Russell in prison, his brother becomes involved with one of the most violent and ruthless crime rings in the Northeast – a mistake that will cost him everything. Once released, Russell must choose between his own freedom, or risk it all to seek justice for his brother.

5 reviews

  • OUT OF THE FURNACE(ENGLISH,2013),|Thriller|Crime|,Dir:-Scott Cooper,*ing:-Christian Bale,Woody Harelson,Casey Affleck,William Dafoe

    2013 came to an end with two anticipated flicks of Christian Bale.A make-over character in American Hustle with big belly and bald head and a crime thriller Out of the Furnace.But in Out of the Furnace,a movie with huge star cast the character of Harlan DeGroat bagged all the appreciation for his cruel bad guy role who was fond of money and drugs.Harlan Degroat was played by Woody Harrelson.The villain was tough,a cheater and a person who lives his life for his own pleasures.A movie which have Leonardo DiCaprio as one of the producers the whole crew was filled with shining stars of the silver screen.A Scott Cooper directed movie have all the elements except a well built story.But the high performances in acting,music,direction,camera and screenplay overthrew the possibility of this movie to become a bad flick.

    The movie is about the story of a group of people living in Rust belt,a place down by financial crisis.Most of the people there depends on a mill for a living.Russel Baze(Christian Bale) enacted the role of an elder brother who worked in the mill to make a living like his father.He had a brother Rodney Baze who was interested in making money the easy way.For that he had a debt to pay to John Petty (William Dafoe) a local money lender.Due to an accident which killed people,Russel Baze was sent to the prison.But things changed for him in the prison.His girl friend Lena(Zoe)left him and his dad died due to illness.meantime,Rodney went for military outing in Iraq.When Russel was released,Rodney went to welcome him.Russel,when he knew that his life was miserable,started to work again in the mill.But Rodney now had a huge amount to pay back ,yet he insisted himself not going for work in the mill.he wanted to live an expensive life for himself.So he started to go for knuckle fights where money would be paid for losing if a deal was made on it.To get more money,Rodney now wanted to be in higher arena with the help of john petty so that he could pay the debts easily.For that they wanted to meet a monster.But Rodney and John Petty never returned.What would have happened to them?To know more,watch the movie.

    This movie don’t have the high twists and turns to baffle the audience.But it was having life of the people of an under developed region in America and lives of people who were having colorless views on future.Even the region enacted as a character in the movie along with mill.A group of people who are living in a place where they couldn’t depend on law for their life keeping.This story cites the bond of relation between father,son,brother and all in a decent manner.Though much of heroic deeds Russel Baze had strength in his character so as the other characters.I rate it as a 7/10 for the movie and mostly for the acting.

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  • Christian Bale, Willen Dafoe, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck… wow!! Some of the best actors we have these days. A great director, a very beautiful location… so I was hoping for a good movie! A brilliant start, with one of the finest Woody Harrelson roles, and a story that should take us to intriguing things that happens trough the movie. But in fact… it wasn’t that original, on the surface, we’ve already seen films like this before. People who expect a fast paced revenge thriller like the trailer may falsely suggest will surely be disappointed by this movie because it concerns itself more with the characterization of its protagonist and his environment than with thrilling action sequences. People who don’t mind the pacing will get a well acted and expertly crafted drama and milieu study that is well worth watching. Overall, “Out of the Furnace” is not a perfect film, but it’s one of those movies that you can appreciate it for what it is and what it’s trying to tell us…

  • Bale plays Pennsylvania steel mill worker Russell, a man living a simplistic hard working way of life. His brother on the other hand, Rodney (Affleck), is back from a tour in Iraq, visibly scared and not in the least bit interested in anymore manual labour. Inciting that the country owes him a something for his sacrifice, he gets into debt gambling and desperate for cash to pay off his short fall he takes bare knuckle fist fighting.

    Things move from bad to worse in a surprise addition to the plot, which sees Russell endure some time behind bars. In the process he loses his sick father as well as seeing his girlfriend Lena (Saldana) fall into the arms of local cop Forest Whitaker.

    When he steps outside of the prison walls for the first time he has yet another problem facing him, in the form of local drug king pin and all round nasty, Harlan DeGroat brilliantly played by Woody Harrelson. DeGroat is not one to be crossed as even the local police keep their distance, but Rodney heads straight into the lions den when he accepts a fight and then is propositioned to take a dive during it, something that he is not willing to do.

    The relationship between the brothers is enthralling and totally believable, both Bale and Affleck give controlled and sharp performances, feeding off each other as the tension between them rises.

    The film attempts to broach the subject of the working classes, while at the same time portraying the life of the retired marine who has come back home full of nightmares.

    It’s a strong cast, with Harrelson’s villain commanding the screen with gusto. While the likes of Saldana, Defoe and Sam Shepard play mere bit parts which is a shame, but with this much talent on show not everyone can feature front and centre.

    The film’s setting is a perfect post-industrial stomping ground for battles both in the illegal ring and out of it. While a moody soundtrack is a perfect accompaniment to the narrative that is both moving and rough around the edges.


  • “Am I supposed to be scared of him because he sucks on a lollipop?”

    If you’re expecting a hard-hitting action movie, then you’ll be disappointed. This film is tough, but not in a physical way. It’s a dark, depressing and hopeless portray of a moribund industrial city. A slow moving movie that tells the story of the brothers Baze. Russell is the one who tackles life in a conventional way by going to work himself to the bone for a meager wage in a steel factory. Rodney is the energetic U.S. marine who has already done a few tours abroad and clearly suffers from that. He doesn’t want to have an ordinary job. He rather borrows some money at a local bookie and gambles on horse racing. Either he tries to collect a few dollars by participating in illegal organized fist fights. However, he has a problem and that’s his sometimes emerging rage that makes him forget the precise instructions.

    Christian Bale plays an outstanding role here and should better have gotten a nomination for this part instead of the one in that dreadful movie “American Hustle”. He radiates an intense tranquility and also tries to calm down his brother. The only thing I was wondering is whether he had a criminal past. The love for his girlfriend and his father, who’s in a critical condition, seem truly sincere. It is a man whose eyes say everything. The fatal accident he caused made him spend some time behind bars. But even that won’t break him. The day he’s released and the meeting with his girlfriend, who meanwhile left him, are two strong snapshots in the film.

    Casey Affleck is the opposite. A cauldron of pent-up anger and frustration that arose during his missions abroad where he experienced stuff he can’t talk about and so he bottles up these certain situations. He plays it so amazingly well. The restrained anger relative to his brother. It’s someone with a short fuse who is about to explode. And he does that during the fights. Until he gets involved with a community that lives in the mountains and who have their own laws.

    The interaction between the two brothers is magnificent. They are well attuned to each other. The older brother who does all the effort to keep the younger rebellious brother on a short leash. Even repaying his debts he made with gambling . That the respect for each other and the brotherly love is mutual is evident. The frequent visits of Rodney in prison is prove of that. Also the excuse note Russell gets after they had a feud, makes that clear. Russell isn’t realizing that he’ll never see his brother alive again.

    Woody Harrelson plays the dangerous DeGroat in a masterly way. The opening scene at the drive-in makes it clear that he’s a psychopathic violent person who fears nobody and won’t go out of the way for anybody. The devilish grimace and sly sophisticated smile fit perfectly with him. Same traits as his character in “Natural Born Killers”. Woody has the stature and the attitude to play such a character. He sometimes actually looks fairly friendly with his winning smile, only to change into a deadly person in a flash.

    The acting performance of Forest Whitaker wasn’t that great. The moment he tells Russell the news about his brother, was truly abominable. However I think Forest is a brilliant actor. An off day probably.

    I can imagine such dreary and petty towns exist in the U.S. where people are struggling to survive and even retreat into isolation, to found an independent community where crime and violence is normal. Besides the fact that this is just an ordinary revenge movie it also has other elements that don’t have anything to do or add to the main theme, but are subtly worked out to fit into the complete story. The only disappointment was the end. If I was Russell, the retaliation would take a long time.

    “Out of the furnace” is a story about people who fight. Fighting for an income. Literally and figuratively. And the dilemma to take the law into your own hands or not. The sweet revenge. In the end I thought it was a top movie.

    http://opinion-as-a-moviefreak.blogspot.be/2014/03/out-of-furnace-2013.html

  • Out of the Furnace is a slow burning sledgehammer of a movie. That doesn’t mean it’s a masterpiece but it’s one of those flicks that I actually wanted to run a bit longer. Granted, it’s a master class in acting, direction, style, and mood. What keeps it from reaching the pinnacle of greatness lies in editing which seems to be wound so tight that the film as a whole, might burst. I do however, applaud almost everything that inhabits the screen. But I wanted to know more about the characters. I also wanted a blueprint of a more calculated back story surrounding them. Everyone in their roles, although not fully realized, do a superb job. In essence, this vehicle probably has the best group of actors in anything I’ve seen all year. Christian Bale as the lead, makes being a movie star look so darn easy. He’s effortless in everything he plays. You wouldn’t know the guy is of Welsh descent because he can slip into any accented role with any sort of cranked up ethnicity. Then there is Casey Affleck who has really come into his own these days. He’s come a long way from being his hap hazard brother’s sidekick in 1997’s Good Will Hunting. Rounding out a cast that never and I mean never hits a false note, is veteran thespian Woody Harrelson (he’s antagonistically horrific), Oscar winner Forest Whittaker (underutilized a bit), and good ol’ Sam Shepard. Oh and did I mention some limited, yet strong supporting work from love interest Zoe Saldana (she plays Lena Warren, Bale’s character’s former squeeze).

    Anyway, all the actors/actresses in “Furnace” do their due diligence by nodding to Scott Cooper’s authentic direction. I’m faithfully recommending this thing based solely on the use of its Pennsylvania locales, the performances which are first rate (and possibly Oscar worthy), and the atmospheric images that will grip and entrance you for just under two hours. What keeps me from taking that recommendation further, is the absence of a more complex undertaking concerning the actions of everyone involved. Bottom line: “Furnace’s” storytelling is a little too straightforward even for me. It’s the movie equivalent of one slice of pizza. Yeah, it tastes good but before you know it, it’s already gone and you want more. The problem is, that’s all you’re gonna get.

    Depicting people that look as though they’ve not slept in days (and seem to have not attempted to wash their hair either) and produced by legendary director Ridley Scott, Out of the Furnance is a showcase for characters that have a bleak existence in a musty, gloomy steel mill town. Living somewhere near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, they unwillingly have come to accept and adapt to their surroundings. And most of the futures that they hold for themselves, seem futile and sort of desolate. As the film opens, we see Russell Baze (Christian Bale, powerfully calm) getting off work and finding his younger brother (Rodney Baze, Jr. played by Casey Affleck) betting on horse races that add up to loses of about $1,500. You see Russell’s brother just got back from serving his country in the armed forces. He doesn’t want a regular job. He wants to do more than just get by. When Russell repays part of his brother’s debt which is owed to a bookie named John Petty (played by William Dafoe in a performance that strays away from his normal acting persona), he then gets into a drunk driving accident, kills a fellow motorist, and goes to prison. While he’s away, he loses his girlfriend (the fiery Zoe Saldana) and his brother then goes on to participate in bare knuckle fighting contests to make ends meet (the boxing scenes seem right out of David Fincher’s Fight Club). “Furnace” then switches gears with Bale’s Baze getting out of the state of incarceration only to find out about his younger brother’s trysts eventually getting out of control. Rodney wants to make more money sparring underground. And against the advice of his connection with Dafoe’s character, he then gets picked to take a fall in an important bloody match (this time without knuckles being taped). This fight, happening 5 or 6 hours away in New Jersey, is orchestrated by a despicable crime ring leader named Curtis DeGroat (played by Woody Harrelson who is so evil and demented, he may haunt your dreams). For whatever reason, Rodney doesn’t come back so his big brother, shotgun and all, takes the law into his own hands.

    For lack of a better word, Out of the Furnace is an old fashioned revenge tale and a sort of back road film noir. My initial observation of it was how it confused me in terms of its time and place. The opening scene had Woody Harrelson’s character at a drive-in theater even though it seemed like the film was set in present day. Therefore, I thought to myself, do those types of theaters still exist? Then there was the fact that Affleck and Bale were cast as brothers. The chemistry was there but wow, they sure didn’t look they could ever be related. As for the setting in this vehicle, I wasn’t necessarily confused. I just thought to myself, is this some sort of post apocalyptic environment where everyone is dressed up with what they might have stole or found laying on the ground? Frankly, when you combine every one’s unkempt personal appearance with the gloominess of the sky, the filthy homes they live in, and the bloodied up face of Affleck’s Rodney, you’ll never see another film where this much grime is plastered on the screen. You want everyone to literally get cleaned up and seek a spa treatment of some sort.

    When you put it all into perspective though, Out of the Furnace is a satisfactory drama/thriller that for most of the way, wants to give the viewer their money’s worth. It’s a real movie. It’s also dungeonous, depressing, dirty, and grubby. When things come to their forgone conclusion, there is a feeling of scenes being rushed with an ending that although fetching and metaphoric, is rather abrupt. Ultimately though, “Furnace” gets pretty much everything right despite the forced simplicity bestowed on the movie goer. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was maybe one or two acting nominations from the Academy. And if I had the power, I’d personally nominate the whole state of Pennsylvania because it feels like a supporting player suffocating everyone in the movie around it.

    To end this review solidly, I will say this: as a perfunctory revenge piece that doesn’t quite expand on its complexities, Out of the Furnace is tops all around. But as a serious contender for one of the 5 best films of the year, it may or may not be a little “out of” its league.

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