2013 / Director. Scott Cooper.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
Take three incredible performances, a handful of fantastic supporting performances and superb direction and you end up with OUT OF THE FURNACE. Produced by Leonardo DiCaprio & Ridley Scott the film is a star-driven vehicle that bucks the Hollywood system and tells an intensely dramatic story of one family and the seedy underworld they get sucked into. Christian Bale plays the older brother to Casey Affleck. Affleck's character has served four terms in Iraq while Bale's character served time in prison for a drink driving accident that lead to a double fatality. Both of them are gripped by darkness and only one (Bale) puts the right foot forward to redeem himself. The younger brother, on the other hand, turns to illegal bare-knuckle fighting and puts himself on the wrong side of a brutal redneck crime boss (Woody Harrelson). To reveal much more is to give away important details and so let me talk about the film itself. Bale and Affleck are on top of their game and knock their performances out of the park... but the irrefutable show-stopper is Woody Harrelson. This guy is a powerhouse in almost everything he does, however, I don't think I've ever seen him better than this. He's terrifying. Also great is Willem Dafoe as a small time loan shark who also finds himself caught up in the whole ugly mess. Sam Shepard, Zoé Saldana and Forest Whitaker also give the film strength, although they are all under utilised. The direction is near impeccable and were it not for a fifteen minute lull in the second act, the film would be worth as many stars as a star rating would allow it. The tone of the film, the music, the cinematography are all top notch and they contribute to making OUT OF THE FURNACE powerful and exceptional viewing.
I was amused that Casey Affleck was brother to Christian Bale. That is to say that both of his brothers are BATMAN! hehe.