A mediocre drama with top-notch performances from Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, and Casey Affleck.
Out of the Furnace is a forceful, violent, and gritty drama set within the underground world of drugs and blood money. When a fatal twist of fate lands Russell Baze (Christian Bale) in prison, his brother Rodney finds himself lured into a violent crime ring to make ends meet. He now fights in illegitimate matches run by the psychotic Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson), but after his brother Russell is released from prison, he is forced to try and save him from the criminal underworld anyway he can.
The problem with Out of the Furnace is that it has some of the highest-caliber actors working in Hollywood today, but acting out a predictable and muddled script. Sure, the story compels enough throughout, but it really has nothing to say by the end. You’ll probably feel like you just watched a lesser version of The Deer Hunter that was simply confused about what story it was actually trying to tell. The themes of revenge and redemption are an intriguing avenue in which to tell this dark drama, but it just ends up a depressingly aimless distraction of a film.
Out of the Furnace is an entertaining enough distraction if you’re looking for a solid dark drama, but nothing more. Christian Bale and Woody Harrelson pull out some great performances, but probably not ones their careers will be remembered for.
© Matt Tory, 2013.