Review: Out of the Furnace
Christian Bale plays Russell Baze, a decent man from a small town who cares for his ailing father, looks out for his troublesome brother Rodney (Casey Affleck), works blue collar at the local mill and has a nice life with his girlfriend Lena (Zoe Saldana). Then having caused a road traffic accident whilst driving under the influence, is sent to prison and his life changes drastically when he returns home. His father dies, his girlfriend has left him and his younger brother, after suffering PTSD due to his military tour of Afghanistan, enters the savage world of underground bare-knuckle boxing.
Rodney spirals deeper and deeper into trouble, suffering a gambling addiction for which he owes money to Russell’s boss (Willem Dafoe) and then mysteriously disappears. After being failed by local law enforcement, Russell goes after those responsible for his brothers demise, namely depraved hillbilly Harlan Degraw (Woody Harrelson) with his own brand of vigilante justice.
Out of the Furnace is a dark film about brotherhood, family loyalty, life’s struggles, fate, luck and justice. Many may bewilder at the lack of discernible plot, but it’s mostly the set of circumstances and the strong characters that drives the story forward. Not to mention the solid performances by capable, credible actors who obviously believe in the films premise, that add value.
Scott Cooper’s long awaited follow up to Crazy Heart, is gripping, atmospheric, violent and sometimes proves difficult to watch but only because it depicts real life and unpleasant characters in a very honest and hard hitting style. The impressive cast deliver gritty and stoic performances to a very high standard that has its audience mesmerised in spite of the heavy-handed content.
Out of the Furnace is out in UK cinemas now.