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Out of the Furnace

Out of the Furnace Poster.jpgChristian Bale stars as Russell Blaze, a normal Joe that lives in Pittsburgh and works for a steel mill.  He works hard, and always does the right thing.  He believes in the system.  He believes in right and wrong, and he walks a straight path through life.  The same cannot be said about his brother Rodney (Casey Affleck), an ex-military man who is just trying to get by, and fighting in back alley matches is one way he makes money to do that.  Russell will do anything for his brother Rodney, but Russell makes a mistake, and the perfect storm of events changes his life drastically.  He’s no longer their for some time to watch over his brother.

Russell finds himself in jail for a period of time, doing penance for his crimes.  When he’s released he finds that life will change for him.  His girlfriend Lena (Zoe Saldana) has left him for a local police officer (Forrest Whitaker), and his brother has gotten deeper into fighting and mixing with bad company.  Things are going to get even worse for Rodney after he begs his “business partner” John (Willem Dafoe) to get him a new round of fights in Jersey through another real bad dude Harlon DeGroat (Woody Harrelson).  John warns Rodney not to get mixed up with Harlan.  He should know because he has unfinished business himself with him.

Russell begs Rodney to stop with the fighting, and tries to get him into the mill to make an honest day’s pay.  Rodney refuses.  He doesn’t want to end up like they’re old man.  Working so hard in the mill that it kills him.  Rodney chooses his own path.  It’s his decisions though that will push Russell towards his.

Out of the Furnace works because of the acting, and all of the great actors involved.  Christian Bale can pretty much do no wrong, and he’s so great and heartbreaking as Russell.  He’s a guy that no matter how hard he tries to walk the straight line and work hard, just can’t seem to get things going for him.  Affleck is also great as a guy that just doesn’t care anymore.  The world and the country gave up on him, even though he did so much for it.  I love these types of film that only have a few characters involved, and let them operate to work out a great story.

Director Scott Cooper does a great job of keeping the tension building during the entire course of the film.  I loved his first film Crazy Heart, and think he’s on his way towards a solid career.

Grade: A