Bottom Line: A bleak, blue-collar, back woods, bare-knuckled cinematic bludgeoning of brooding bullies and brotherly love. There’s a seedy underbelly of crime, drugs and illegal fisticuffs exposed here, but OUT OF THE FURNACE is not the action-packed, FIGHT CLUB movie the trailer so desperately wants you to believe… The thematic hardships of economy, military and how they affect a rural, Rust Belt, steel mill town are bold and fairly intriguing – due largely in part to three outstanding performances from Bale, Harrelson and Affleck – but it ultimately boils down to a slow-burning, mostly depressing, sporadically heavy handed and occasionally melodramatic tragedy of hopelessness and revenge. Not your typical date night or go-to-the-movies-for-fun fare, OUT OF THE FURNACE is worth the eventual watch – just nothing you need to rush out and see in a theater.
Starring: Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard, Willem Dafoe, Forest Whitaker and Woody Harrelson
Directed by: Scott Cooper (CRAZY HEART)
Running time: 106 minutes
Story: Russell Baze (Christian Bale) has a rough life: he works a dead-end blue collar job at the local steel mill by day, and cares for his terminally ill father by night. When Russell's brother Rodney (Casey Affleck) returns home from serving time in Iraq, he gets lured into one of the most ruthless crime rings in the Northeast and mysteriously disappears. The police fail to crack the case, so - with nothing left to lose - Russell takes matters into his own hands, putting his life on the line to seek justice for his brother. The impressive cast of Christian Bale and Woody Harrelson are rounded out by Casey Affleck, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana and Sam Shepard. (c) Relativity