Star – Christian Bale
Genre – Crime Drama
Run Time – 116 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – USA
Amazon – £4.00 DVD
Awards – 2 Wins & 8 Nominations
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It’s fair to say Christian Bale is a temperamental character with a mixed career. From bawling out his film crew to his brilliant Batman he is never dull. Batman Begins singlehandedly saved Hollywood as the superhero comic book blockbusters that finance the home of moves today were pretty camp drivel before his gravel voiced Batman arrived. From the confidence he bought with Batman’s huge grosses so the whole Marvel V DC Comics thing took off and so embraced and improved modern special effects and the best actors. Admittedly Ben Affleck is trying to ruin it all but we are still enjoying the Marvel stuff of The Avengers and X-Men. But Bale bailed from Batman and insists on doing these low budget movie flicks between big budget Science - Fiction adventures, Out of the Furnace one of those movies, for some reason needing to prove he can play the moody method role now and then. The Welsh born boy exploded on to the scene in the 1990s with American Psycho and has done lots of films across the range since, from the emaciated loner in The Machinist and Rescue Dawn (for which he lost 60 Lbs in 2003 and 2006), and under rated films like Reign of Fire and then the almost perfect movie The Prestige. But there are lots of Indies littered around his CV and Bale does like to be playing the tattooed wilder characters like this one and in stuff like Harsh Times. But he has that range and delivers some great stuff. Sadly when he goes all Indie he is wasted in those films as the scripts and directors are not as good as him. Anyone could have played the lead in this run of the mill blue collar revenge flick. Stop doing it!
Woody Harrelson ... Harlan DeGroat
Christian Bale Christian Bale ... Russell Baze
Casey Affleck ... Rodney Baze Jr.
Zoe Saldana ... Lena Taylor
Sam Shepard ... Gerald 'Red' Baze
Bingo O'Malley ... Rodney Baze Sr.
Tom Bower ... Dan Dugan
Willem Dafoe ... John Petty
Bobby Wolfe ... Dwight Van Dunk
Forest Whitaker ... Chief Wesley Barnes
Soldier Rodney Baze Jr(Casey Affleck) is back in the rural New Jersey Rustbelt after his fourth tour of Iraq and soon in debt to local loan shark John Petty (Willem Dafoe) to the tune of $1500. His brother Russell (Christian Bale), who works on the furnace in the steel mill, bails him out without telling his brother but Rodney a habitual gambler and soon involved in local bare-knuckle money matches to get up some more cash. He takes dives for Petty to make that money but decides to up the stakes by fighting up state in bigger money matches, the bouts organized by nasty gangster Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson), who carries a gun and enjoys using it. ‘Rus’ is unaware of those fights, especially the risky ones. If you take a dive against De Groat it’s not a good idea.
When his brother goes missing in the woods after a fight its time for revenge, ‘good old boy’ style, dad Gerald 'Red' Baze (Sam Shepard) breaking out the hunting rifles. Local sheriff Chief Wesley Barnes (Forest Whitaker) advises them not to take revenge and they will bring in the bad guys but the two have history from back in the day ad he is not listening. Let the hunt begin in the redneck hills.
Although beautifully shot in and around the depressed town of Braddock, Pa, a significant place in American Civil War history, Out of the Furnace ends up a run-of-the-mil revenge flick with a decent and intense cast doing the best they can with the average writing and narrative. A cheaper less known cast on the same script would see this end up as a TV movie; such is the familiarity of the story and cliché characters and situations. But Bale is always watchable and with Casey Affleck to bounce of then why not give it ago. They certainly save this one.
It simply needed more twists and with Harelsson and Dafoe playing familiar seedy villain roles they always seem to play now it’s up to Bale to drag this above the waterline. He does that but the wow moments simply don’t come and the film stays comfortably a 3/5 movie throughout. It has echoes of the Deerhunter, but also every other tobacco chewing, banjo playing rednecks in the woods blue collar rust belt film you have seen.
It’s light on irony and humor and takes itself far too seriously. It cost $22 million to make but tanked doing just $15 million back in the multiplexes. It’s a shame because Chris Cooper has only directed five films in two years and two of them are Black Mass and the Oscar winning Crazy Heart and so the talent there. This was also financed by Ridley Scott and Leo Di Caprio. One for Film4 viewing only guys.
Imdb.com – /10.0 (votes)
Rottentomatos.com –53% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – % critic’s approval
Time Out –‘Aims for Bruce Springsteen with its blue-collar big themes and stadium-rock emotion but ends up as a bandana-wearing cliché’.
New Yorker –‘The movie has an undeniable, dour force, but it's basically conventional macho filmmaking, and it's extremely violent’.
Epoch Times –‘'Out of the Furnace' is an actor's film, full of actor's actors. Being a former actor himself, the reviewer was in actor-heaven’.
Toronto Star –‘Good actors really earn their pay when they have to negotiate bad scripts’.
The Mail –‘A down-and-dirty revenge picture whose classy cast elevates it above its gritty, grimy trappings’.
Entertainment Today –‘A humorless, ponderously solemn dirge that chokes on its own oppressive aura of self-importance’.
The Star –‘The grittiness of the tone... will bring to mind films ranging from The Fighter to The Deer Hunter, but it's that lack of cinematic gloss that makes the film come to life’.
I enjoy going to the cinema, be it with friends or with my boyfriend, and I always seem to choose the most expensive cinema around! Being a student, I get a discount, but it is mere pennies I end up saving on the price of a ticket. It costs about £5.20, whereas most other cinemas tend to price their tickets at about £3. Ok, so I’ll be fair, there is a wide range of choice, both of films and screens. I have found that it is more comfy to go to this cinema, and the seats are arranged so that big haired people or tall people don’t get in the way. Oh, and for all those people who like to snuggle up to their boyfriends, the arms move on the seats. There is quite a bit of legroom, and the food is quite good. I think, looking at what I have written, this is why I choose comfort over price, and you do get your moneys worth!
Opened last year in Coxside, Plymouth, the Warner Bros cinema, is entertainment of a standard befitting a city, unlike some of Plymouth's other somewhat shabby entertainment facilities. There are 15 screens enabling you to see your movie at an appropriate time to you, rather than lining up to be crammed into a packed out theatre. The benefit to the community is also positive, more jobs for one, but also has taken some of the pressure off the city centre to provide all the entertainment. As for the cinema itself, the screens are some of the biggest in the country and the sound is top notch. The best thing for me would have to be the seating, being 6'3" there is nothing worse than having your legs crammed in for 2 hours or more, or having countless whining from behind that somebody can't see. There is stadium seating so everyone can see and enough leg room to keep a basketball player happy, the arms retract if you want to cuddle or stay in place if that date isn't going to plan. The prices are no more expensive than the run of the mill city centre theatre, but what you are getting is true value for money, not perhaps, if you are buying refreshments, but thats cinema's in general isn't it. Doesn't everyone hide coke bottles in their sleeves and jellybabies in their pockets???