A Gritty Drama with a Strong Cast,
This review is from: Out of The Furnace [DVD]  (DVD)
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"Out of the Furnace" tells the story of Russel Baze (Christian Bale), a steelworker fresh out of prison. His girlfriend left him, his aging father died and he is wracked with guilt, but at least he has his brother Rodney (Casey Afflek). However, Rodney is forever in debt, and in a last-ditch effort to clear what he owes has become involved in bare-knuckle fighting. Rodney takes a fight upstate in a hillbilly fight league, led by the intimidating Harlan Degroat (Woody Harrelson). When Rodney is killed, and the police seem powerless, Bale's character sets out to take revenge, whatever the cost.
The characters are very well developed, and the all-star cast does them real justice. Bale is very convincing as a man in emotional turmoil, full of anger and guilt, and has a perfect counterpart in Harrelson, playing a wild, out-of-control killer. The supporting cast are also very strong, from the ex-girlfriend to the local police officer, all of whom add real drama to the piece. It is in following these characters that the film shows its real strengths, and these roles are perfectly cast.
The plot itself is also very believable, and depressing. There really isn't a happy moment throughout the whole film, which fits the subject matter well. This mood of depression is matched by the cinematography, showing eerie steel-mills and cold, dark woods. Unfortunately, it is also in the plot that "Out of the Furnace" is let down; the ending is not explicit, which can be great when executed well, but here just leaves the audience feeling unfulfilled and the plot unresolved. This is compounded by the fact that at two hours, I would have been happy to see the film go another 20 minutes or so, particularly with such a strong cast.
"Out of the Furnace" is a slow-burning drama, built around violence. With an overwhelmingly bleak atmosphere, and a plethora of unhappy characters, there is a real vein of depression running through the whole piece. But it is this that really marks the film out - it isn't an action film, it's a study in humanity at its worst, and is very believable in that. The trailer ([...]), whilst being a little too action-oriented, does a good job of describing the film and is well worth a watch if you're considering buying "Out of the Furnace". It isn't a classic, but it's a solid film nonetheless.