Coming to theatres this Friday from director Scott Cooper and Relativity Media comes an intense story of brothers who each come OUT OF THE FURNACE.
This film tells the story of Russell Baze (Christian Bale), the older brother to Rodney (Casey Affleck). Russell works hard at the steel mill while brother Rodney is a soldier who has spent several tours in Iraq. When home between tours, he spends his time gambling.
Trying to help pay the bookie John Petty (Willem DaFoe), Russell just wants to do what’s right and spend time with girlfriend Lena (Zoe Saldana). That’s probably how his life would have gone but for an accident that puts him behind bars.
In that time Rodney is having a more difficult time adjusting to civilian and Lena has moved on with Chief Wesley Barnes (Forest Whitaker). Added to the mix is Rodney fist fighting for money which leads him to Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson), a man who deals in one thing – making money no matter what.
When Rodney goes missing, it is up to Russell to find his younger brother, who takes him in places and situations that are far uglier than anyone could have imagined.
FINAL WORD: Bale turns in a good performance although, and it must be said, I have seen him play this character before or maybe just see the same looks I always see. I must be careful or else I’ll get ranted at (it’s a joke Mr. Bale, just a joke!). I wanted to like Russell, I did like Russell but, unfortunately, I didn’t connect with Russell. There was a story here but I’m not exactly sure what it is.
Affleck also turns in a good performance, but that being said I am personally sick of what is now becoming a stereotypical film-feature of a returning soldier not being able to deal with life. Personally I think it doesn’t do anything for the realistic struggles returning soldiers face and to do for Hollywood value just doesn’t do it for me anymore – not that it ever really did.
DaFoe as Petty is the loveable local bookie that understands how hard it is for Russell to pay Rodney’s gambling debts yet – still does it. So much for the loveable part right? Saldana and her puppy looks of hurt don’t work on me anymore either – oh wait – they never did in the first place. Whitaker was hilarious attempting to do a deep I’m-not-Whitaker accent in an I’m-a-cop-who-doesn’t-do-anything kind of way.
The winner here – Harrelson being a badass, but wait I’ve seen Harrelson be a badass before. Insert sigh here because I really did want to like the film, truly I did. The funny thing is I don’t dislike it; it’s more of two hours of film that didn’t need to be two hours of film and a story with a good beginning, an unraveling middle to an anti-thrilling end.
FILM BRAT: I do like watching Christian Bale but when he’s actually doing something. In this film I feel like we got to see him sigh a lot, contemplate a lot, be upset a lot, sit in his truck stalking a lot, and drag his cool uncle into places he didn’t need to be. Harrelson at least made me chuckle so that’s why it gets a few more points from me. This just wasn’t my cup of tea and I needed strong coffee to get to the end of it. Oh, and can we be done with one-dimensional Zoe Saldana already? Just asking.
Other cast include: Tom Bower as Dan Dugan, Bobby Wolfe as Dwight Van Dunk and Sam Sheppard as Gerald Baze.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give OUT OF THE FURNACE three tubs of popcorn out of five. Although this acting wasn’t horrible, it was predictable and the story line doesn’t take being a genius to figure out quickly. I thought the cinematography was quite good, yes; I’m looking hard to find something to rave about with this film
In the end – sometimes the battle chooses you.