Written by / 12/06/2013 / No comments / , , , , , ,

OUT OF THE FURNACE

year: 2013 cast: Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe, Sam Shepard rating: **
Woody Harrelson’s Harlan DeGroat is a bad ass, but more of a bad date… At the drive-in theater with his girl, he forces a hotdog into her mouth and abuses her physically. After which, he beats up a man who felt his chivalric duty to step in… Harlan won’t have none of that.

Meanwhile, in a town close by yet worlds apart, Christian Bale is Russell Baze, a factory worker with a sick dad; a mellow uncle; and a little brother about to go to Iraq: A lean, wound-up Casey Affleck is Rodney Baze, and like cinematic icons Charles Bronson and Clint Eastwood, he takes part in illegal warehouse fights. These quick brawls are as good as things get, for a while. The film skips around as Bale’s Russell goes in and out of jail, loses his girlfriend, and argues with his determined (war vet) brother in choppy montage sequences not only seen in the prolonged theatrical trailer, but still resembling one. The blue collar siblings do seem real, extremely real, but they aren't that interesting nor given a chance to be.

The best scenes in OUT OF THE FURNACE actually brings us closer to the fire – this involves the return of Harrelson’s sinister Harlan, who, it turns out, is a redneck meth dealing/dope shooting psychopath and, oddly enough, the most "fleshed-out" character on board… He does very bad things, one in particular, and this morphs our tough but tender anti-hero into the kind of guy to finally root for: When Russell decides to do something, he's got his whole heart in the matter. Too bad he wasn’t pushed a lot sooner.
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