Monday, December 9, 2013

Out of the Furnace

Movie Name: Out of the Furnace
Year of Release: 2013
Director: Scott Cooper
Stars: Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard, Tom Bower, Bobby Wolfe, Bingo O'Malley
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5

Following the success of "Crazy Heart", director Scott Cooper has returned with a new feature, again with a fantastic cast. The film follows the story of brothers Russell and Rodney Baze, both of whom live in an industrial town, where the main employer is a mill. Rodney, the younger, has been deployed to war a few times, while Russell has stayed and worked in the mill, just like their father. Russell lives a quiet life, with the woman he loves, always looking out for his frail father and his brother, who has a difficult time adjusting to civilian life, after his war experiences. Rodney gets involved with underground fighting, whose menace escalates dramatically when he gets involved with some dangerous individuals.
"Out of the Furnace" is a film that ends up combining influences from features that were done in the 70s. It directly seems to have traces from Michael Cimino's "Deer Hunter" and a bit of Michael Winner's "Death Wish". The film is successful in building a bleak and claustrophobic small town environment, one that seems where time hasn't evolved for many years, and where people have few expectations and prospects in life. There is an attempt at defining the relationships of these characters, however, whereas some are underdeveloped (such as Zoe Saldana's), others fall into traditional traps (Casey Affleck's). Though finely acted by a very talented group of actors, the film can't help feeling trapped in a genre and style that has been explored before and in a much better way. A honorable attempt but not a very interesting development.