Out of the Furnace

Rated R (MPAA) 116 min. 2013

Christian Bale stars as one of the few guys in Braddock, PA in the thoroughly unpleasant Out of the Furnace, Scott Cooper’s follow-up to his lauded Crazy Heart. But while the town is decidedly blue-collar—cue the Eddie Vedder drone—the tone is a bit more Deliverance, what with a sweaty Woody Harrelson forcing hot dogs down prostitutes’ throats and beating the shit out of whoever wanders by. Bale is Russell, a steel mill worker who accidentally kills a child. While he’s in jail, his younger solider brother Rodney (Casey Affleck, terrific) wracks up a bunch of debt on the Appalachian bare-knuckling boxing circuit (oh that old thing) and ends up mixed up with Harrelson’s dirty Jersey crew. (His mentor-manager is Willem Dafoe, so you can imagine how that goes.) There’s an impressive, lived-in authenticity about the movie, but it’s bogged down by heavy-handed symbolism, rote storytelling and zero female characters of note (sorry Zoe Saldana). Well-made, but why? —Tara Thorne

Film Credits

Official Site: twitter.com/outofthefurnace

Director: Scott Cooper

Writer: Scott Cooper and Brad Inglesby

Producer: Jennifer D. Killoran, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ryan Kavanaugh, Ridley Scott and Michael Costigan

Cast: Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoë Saldana and Sam Shepard

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