Out of the Furnace: movie review

Movies, Drama
3 out of 5 stars
Out of the Furnace

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

A full-on plunge into rust-belt desperation, Scott Cooper’s aching economic tragedy is informed at every plot turn by the hulking ruin of Pennsylvania’s Carrie Furnace, often shot from above for extra oomph. Decent guy Russell (Christian Bale) has one of the last remaining jobs at the mill, but a cataclysmic car accident and his incarceration put brother Rodney (Casey Affleck), a scarred Iraqi vet, under too much pressure. Gambling and bare-knuckle brawling draw the latter into the glare of a ferocious meth dealer (Woody Harrelson). As if all of this weren’t sufficiently upsetting, Pearl Jam’s “Release” wails at film’s start and end like a dirge.

After Cooper’s Crazy Heart, it’s gratifying to see a director further commit himself to dead-end career anxieties—even if Out of the Furnace goes beyond the edge of poetic despair into stridency. The movie becomes too finely focused on Old Testament payback, losing a bit of dignity in the process. But subtle performances—especially from Bale and Affleck, both growing meaner in the absence of hope—transcend any structural weaknesses. The bottom drops out early for them, but their endgame is savagely captivating.

Follow Joshua Rothkopf on Twitter: @joshrothkopf



Release details

Release date:
Wednesday December 4 2013
116 mins

Cast and crew

Scott Cooper
Scott Cooper, Brad Ingelsby
Christian Bale
Zoë Saldana
Woody Harrelson
Casey Affleck