Sunday, December 29, 2013

Movie Review: "Out of the Furnace" (2013)

Movie: "Out of the Furnace"
Director: Scott Cooper
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 56 minutes
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Rodney Baze Jr. (Casey Affleck) is an ex-military man who has dug himself into a large gambling debt, borrowed largely from John Petty (Willen Dafoe). Rodney's older brother Russell Baze (Christian Bale) has always tried to get him to with at the local mill with him on a more stable path in life. When Russell ends up in jail, Rodney has turned to unsanctioned, back-alley, no holds barred fighting for money. After Russell gets out of jail, Rodney is looking for one final payday to settle his debts and asks John to set up a fight in the hills of Jersey, put on by Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson), a ruthless drug addict redneck who has violence in his veins. When Rodney goes missing, it's up to Russell and their uncle Red (Sam Shepard) to uncover the truth.

The trailer for this movie has us really excited to see it. When we got to actually watch it, we were a bit disappointed. It's not a bad movie, but it's just not exactly how we pictured it. Nothing in this movie stands out to us as spectacular. It's a pretty simple revenge flick, wrought with violence and drugs. It is shot in a very artful manner, which is neither here nor there.

It seems like an accurate portrayal of some places in America, but Rodney and Russell seemed more well-off than least they had a house. I feel like this movie tried really hard to push Rodney's character as a sympathetic one, but we felt worse for Russell, to be honest...he was always having to clean up after his younger brother's messes and suffered because of it. He worked an honest living at the mill and went to jail for a freak accident, and when he got out, he was tested to his breaking point. Even when Rodney was missing, Russell was still chasing after him and we really got no indication that Rodney felt the same way about Russell as his brother did about him. The mutual love didn't seem to be there. The only time Rodney's character seemed impassioned about anything is when he screams at Russell about serving in the US military and how his country hadn't done anything for him when he was willing to risk it all for America...otherwise, he sort of seemed like a brat throughout the movie.

This is the perfect example of a "how far would you go to _______" picture, but it's not executed as well as, say, "Prisoners," which came out earlier this year. The performances are the best part of the movie. Woody Harrelson is the perfect hillbilly meth-head. Christian Bale is always good. Casey Affleck, eh. Sam Shepard is always good. Zoe Saldana, eh...
AND WTF are you thinking, picking Forest Whitaker over Christian Bale?? GURL, YOU WAIT, DAMN IT, YOU WAIT.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 53%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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