The best thing, worst thing, and main thing about “Out of the Furnace” in about the time it takes to watch the trailer. Don’t forget to take a shot at the “best ever” challenge in the comments!
Fair warning.. this is not a Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego documentary. Just thought you would want to know.
“Out of the Furnace” stars Christian Bale as a beleaguered mill worker just trying to get on with his life and what happens when his brother becomes involved with some ne’er do wells a few towns over. Casey Affleck steps in as Bale’s troubled war vet brother, and Woody Harrelson jumps on board as the sneering, relentless, and evil force to be reckoned with. And reckoning is what this movie is all about.
If nothing else this movie is powerful. A lot of that is likely due to some pretty intense and well rounded performances by our leads. Bale, Harrelson, and Affleck are all captivating in their portrayals giving an energy to the film that really suits it well. Really the cast is solid down the line but man it’s Bale who really takes it to another level here. The way he walks, the way he talks, he just becomes another person. and you can’t help but feel everything he feels as it happens around him. This movie reminds you exactly how much back story, character arc, and personal investment can mean to the power of a story. There is a genuine love for this man and what he is going through, so much so, that even without any effusive scenes Bale’s acting is absolutely engrossing. The same could be said for how much we hate Harrelson in this, though much of that may be due to his actions as much as his performance. and overall that character investment is the best thing about watching the movie. On another note, I also have to mention how much I appreciated that the movie didn’t draw out the chronology of events. Deftly giving us just the details we need to figure it out ourselves even through some giant jumps in time.
And yet as powerful as this story is, I have to say, it’s also kinda telegraphed. It really is the worst thing about the movie. We have seen this story play out this way many times before. Sure, there was some more gravitas to it because of the performances and the staging, but really there isn’t much new here. I think at the end of the day I’m willing to forgive the movie this flaw because the themes are well drawn and, honestly, telling a straight story well is still better than telling a crooked one poorly. But it’s worth a mention anyway and keeps the movie from excelling at that next level.
Overall “Out of the Furnace” showcases some incredible character performances by Harrelson, Affleck, and especially Bale. And even though the plot is somewhat predictable, our deep connection to these people keep the grade right around a B+
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