Title: Out of the Furnace
Starring: Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana
Director: Scott Cooper
Released: 2 Jun 2014
Run Time: 116 minutes
A powerhouse cast assembles in the utterly compelling, action-packed thriller OUT OF THE FURNACE, which arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on 2 June 2014, courtesy of Lionsgate Home Entertainment.
Starring CHRISTIAN BALE (American Hustle, The Dark Knight Trilogy), CASEY AFFLECK (Gone Baby Gone, The Killer Inside Me) and WOODY HARRELSON (No Country for Old Men, TV’s True Detective), the film also features incredible support from FOREST WHITAKER (The Last King of Scotland, The Last Stand), ZOE SALDANA (Star Trek Into Darkness, Avatar) and WILLEM DAFOE (Nymphomaniac, Spider-man 2).
• The Music of Out of the Furnace
• Scott Cooper Commentary
• Crafting the Fight Scenes
Out of the Furnace is a film full of stories and plot strands. To begin with we have Russell Baze (Christian Bale) working one of those dead-end jobs that are almost reserved for films, he works in a steel mill. It’s the sort of job that makes us think, OK, that’s why he’s really tough, but we need to feel sympathy for him too, because he’s only doing it to support his family. But then we also have his brother Rodney (Casey Affleck) who has just returned from serving in the Army in Iraq who gets into trouble with a local tough-guy (Willem Defoe) and the even more ruthless crime-lord Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrleson) after borrowing money from him to gamble. Russell offers to pay his brother’s debt in instalments but before he can even make the second payment he is sentenced to jail time after killing a family when drink-driving. Whilst he’s inside, Russell’s girlfriend Lena (Zoe Saldana) breaks up with him (understandably) and (less understandably) becomes involved with small town police chief, Wesley Barnes (Forest Whitaker). Later Rodney inadvisably becomes even more deeply involved with DeGroat taking part in fixed bare-knuckle boxing fights. Why does Russell keep trying to help him? And why is he so intent on reigniting his relationship with Lena when she is now pregnant with Barnes’ child?
In many ways Out of the Furnace is a film that is simply trying too hard. It’s perhaps overly complex, with maybe one or two more characters than it needs. It’s the sort of film that looks as though many strands will never be fully resolved and indeed many of they aren’t.
It’s well written, in most part and well directed, but the number of plot strands threaten to rip the film apart under its own weight. That said, the performance and star wattage keep the film afloat and make it more watchable than perhaps it otherwise would have been with less well-known or liked actors.