Woody Harrelson and Christian Bale in “Out Of The Furnace”
Crazy Heart Director Scott Cooper returns with a new tale of Violence, Vengeance, and life on a low income in his sophomore effort of Out of The Furnace. A film about two brothers trying to get by: Russell (Christian Bale) and Rodney Baze (Casey Affleck) work for a living in North Braddock Pennsylvania. A small town like any other with one major employer and a high rate of crime. Life is hard for the Baze brothers as they deal with problems that are the Bane of their existence.
The film opens with a horrific fatal crash that affects the brothers; meanwhile Rodney has taken out a loan from John Petty (Willem Dafoe) the local crime boss. Russell pays off a good portion of the loan when he becomes aware that Rodney is incapable of repaying his debt, wishes John would say nothing to him about it their meeting. On one of these trips up to Beaver Hills John and Rodney go missing and it sends Russell into an angry frenzy, but he told to let the “local authorities” deal with it, by Braddock sheriff and friend Wesley (Forest Whitaker).
Harlan DrGroat (Woody Harrelson), A true “Redneck” that sells the drugs and runs local bare knuckle fights is the local crime lord in Beaver hills. Another small town, but one in which if you’re a newcomer people are gonna know. However, Harlan is in charge of this town, because even the local authorities can’t seem to bring in for any of his wrongdoings. Harrelson is truly a villain to be feared as DeGroat and proves to be one of Hollywood’s most versatile actors, although lately he is more likely to be known as Haymitch from the Hunger Games franchise rather than as Woody Boyd in Cheers, or Steve Schmidt from the Emmy-winning film Game Change. This is of course due to the young adult adaptation’s popularity.
Bale and Affleck are believable as struggling Americans, however as brothers they look and sound nothing alike. Bale is rather soft-spoken as Russell the older hard working brother whom works by the hour at the Braddock mill, which is the town’s only real source of income for those that inhabit it. Rodney Doesn’t believe in working for a living and thinks there are other ways, but never really looks into finding an alternate sources of income.
Scott Cooper’s second directorial effort is fantastic and entertaining, however it’s nowhere as good as his directorial debut Crazy Heart. These characters take to long to develop and by the time anything happens you almost don’t care. Out of The Furnace is however, the perfect combination of Winter’s Bone and We Own The Night. Its long and drawn out, but has an ending that is satisfactory and even a little surprising. If you’re going to try and avoid the mob that flock the theatre this weekend for Peter jackson’s Hobbit sequel Out of the Furnace is a safe bet for those that enjoy the occasional Crime Drama.