Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Now at Netflix: Out of the Furnace (2013)

Out of the Furnace (2013) - Directed by Scott Cooper; Written by Brad Inglesby and Cooper; Starring Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard, Forest Whitaker.

By Kenny Howell

There is something missing from Out of the Furnace.

It's not the cast. It is loaded with big time talent. It's what they are left to work with is the problem.

Bale plays Russell, a man trying to make it in a depressed factory town. His little brother, Rodney (Affleck) is a Iraq War veteran that has got himself mixed up with some rough characters. Russell takes on the responsibility of taking care of him, which includes paying off his debts.

Russell is driving home one night after having a few drinks, and hits a car that was backing out of a driveway. The accident wasn't his fault, but since he was drinking, he goes to prison. That sends Rodney deeper into trouble, and when he comes out, Russell has to get him out of it. Rodney has associated with a local businessman, John Petty (Dafoe), who gets him involved in back alley fights for money. That brings in a crazy criminal in Harlan DeGroat (Harrelson), and tragedy comes just around the corner, leaving Russell to clean up the mess.

The movie is grim. Very grim. The movie starts on that level, and never gets above it. To counteract that, there needs to be characters that take it to another level. Really, only Harrelson's DeGroat is allowed to do it. His husky, lung-congested growl at least gives his character something. Bale, Affleck and Dafoe pretty much stay on the same note the entire movie. Luckily, they are talented enough to make it work, just probably not as much as it should.

Out of the Furnace is also available at Redbox, iTunes and Amazon.

Rating: **1/2

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