Directed By: Scott Cooper
Staring: Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Zoe Saldana
I’ve personally never been up north, aside from the usual 8th grade trip to Washington D.C, but I feel like one day I really need to take a trip to the middle of nowhere. Ironically this film makes me want to stay as far away from it as possible, with no offense to anyone that does live up there.
“Where’s my f*cking money?”
Set in western Pennsylvania, the story follows Russell (Christian Bale) as he tries to protect his brother (Casey Affleck) who owes illegal business owners money. Unfortunately that’s about all I can say before spoilers come into play and sadly the trailers show a lot of them.
The film does suffer for being very much a slow burn, the main plot doesn’t even really start until about an hour in and then it feels like going through the motions. That’s not to say it does go through the motions, in fact there was one shocking twist that I really didn’t see coming. The last thirty minutes is when the film finally starts moving and is intense. I’ve read some comparisons to The Deer Hunter and I would agree.
Easily the best aspect of the film is the acting by everyone in the cast; no one does a bad job. If I had to point to one person who was the weakest it would be Forrest Whitaker mainly because his character is hardly in the film and doesn’t really have an arc. The fight scenes are absolutely brutal and not shot in a shaky fast way, showing the violence from the ringside and letting it play out in long takes of ten seconds or more. This really adds to the “you are there” factor that really makes the scenes have more of a punch, pun intended.
Out of the Furnace isn’t a bad film by any means but it just misses the mark. It does have some great performances, and some great fistfights that make the film worth a lokk, but only as a rental.
“The people in the hills have their own breed of justice, and that doesn’t include us.”
Presented in a 2:39.1 aspect ratio Out of the Furnace looks great for what it is. In other words the film isn’t exactly a visual feast but it’s not supposed to be. The film has a great grain texture on almost every shot adding to the grittiness of the story. Details are really great, especially in close ups and skin tones are accurate. Black levels are deep and strong and I did not notice any banding or aliasing. It’s a good video presentation but didn’t have a lasting impression.
“You’ve got five seconds.”
Presented with a DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix Out of the Furnace has a decent mix that really comes to life, but only in a few certain scenes. The fight scenes really get a boost in atmosphere and the music actually helps propel the story. I did find the lack of rear speaker usage not too annoying since there are only a few stand out scenes that would call for them. I never really noticed any pans or aggression to the mix making it feel kind of flat. Dialogue was clean and clear and I never had a problem with it.
Packaging and Bonus Features
“I got a problem with everybody.”
The disc comes in another eco friendly case that just feels flimsy, seriously stop making these please. Unfortunately there is no slipcover or any add-ons to the set other than the disc and the case. Bonus features felt barely noticeable and weak. The first is “Inspiration” where the main actors talk about what inspired them to be actors and to go into film. This is fine except I’m confused why it’s on this disc. “Scott Cooper” is all about the films director and his directing style. It’s nice but a bit too brief. “Crafting the Fight Scenes” mostly just talks about how good Casey Affleck was at getting into the role as opposed to actually breaking the fight sequences down and showing how they were made. “The Music of Out of the Furnace” is the longest piece where the director talks to the composers and talks about how thematic elements inspired the music choices. I really feel these materials were for Internet promo pieces that were added to the disc to try and fill it up with something. Weak.
“Working for a living? I gave my life for this country and what’s it done for me?
Out of the Furnace isn’t a bad movie but it never finds its footing to become the great film it could have been. There are good fight scenes and some solid performances making the film worth a rental for a random Saturday night escape..
Overall (not an average): 7.5/10