“Conversation with a friend. While naming the movies on my must list. “”What’s Out of the Furnace?”” “”Christian Bale and Casey Affleck are brothers…”” “”Stop right there, you’ve already sold me”” That was pretty much the case for me too. Those boys plus Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe, Forrest Whitaker, and Zoe Saldana. I didn’t even care what the plot was, I knew the acting would be worth the price of admission.
The set up is a little involved to explain. Bale and Affleck are small town brothers, who have both had their share of trouble. Bale spends some time incarcerated while Affleck is deployed to war. They’re released at the same time and try to put their life together. Bale goes back to his responsabilities working at the soon to close steel mill, while Affleck gets involved in underground street fights. Affleck gets in over his head in a match set up by loose cannon inbred crazy backwoods man Harrelson, and Bale goes out to find out what happened.
As detailed as the set up is, the plot doesn’t really have a lot of places to go. I feel that once things are established, there isn’t much of an urgency to what’s happening. It’s more of a “”let’s watch Bale be intense and Harrelson be crazy””. Granted, those are wonderful actors to watch in roles that fit them perfectly. I feel that lately Bale has been given a lot of out there characters (*cough**cough*AmericanHustle*cough) so it was nice to see him grounded for the first time since maybe Public Enemies. And Harrelson lately has had a good side under the dark, so seeing him go full bad was also a welcome return to past characters.
Zoe Saldana seemed a bit superfluous. Sorry, but adding one woman to your movie isn’t gonna be enough to help ya pass the Bechdel test. Although her role as Bale’s ex did give Forrest Whitaker’s cop (and her current) some more weight. I wouldn’t have minded more of Whitaker. He does strong and stoic so well. Affleck I did love, but I’m always a sucker for the lost puppy type. And I do think that brothering him up with Bale was a great move.
Overall, I’m glad for having seen the performances, but I don’t feel like I would have missed out on much had I skipped this one (even though skipping was not likely to happen). As someone who values plot, I found Furnace kinda lacking
Out of the Furnace – \m/ \m/ \m/