Dalton’s Cinema Spot- Out of the Furnace

Dalton's Cinema Spot- Out of the Furnace

Dalton Valette, Opinions Editor

R, 116 minutes

Starring- Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson

2.5/ 5 Stars

“If you can’t stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen,” President Harry S. Truman used to say. Unfortunately, I wish it was a bit hotter, then maybe Out of the Furnace would have been more successful as a film. Christian Bale stars as Russell, a hardworking man in rural Pennsylvania who, after a stint in prison, returns to see his brother Rod (Affleck) down on his luck and in debt to some shady fellows led by a brutal hick named Harlan (Harrelson). After Rod goes missing and the police show no sign of pursuing Harlan, Russell springs into action to find his little brother.

Actually, “springs into action” may not be the most accurate statement to make about Russell’s actions. Bale stares in anger at inanimate objects, he ruffles his long hair, and he glances into the wooded distance while mumbling in his Batman voice. He searches, blank faced, for his brother, silently, and only for the last twenty or so minutes of the movie. The majority of the film is set up for the big climax which never comes and leads to a disappointing, lack luster ending. The pacing throughout is terrible, agonizing at times, and is an unnecessary muddle that’s supposed to bring a unique, in depth look at this families lives, at least that’s what I think was happening. For all I know this could have been self help guide for grieving on your own.

Besides the slow pacing, weak ending, and a ho-hum story line that has been done before and far better, the acting is terrific and the direction is excellent. Bale always delivers a strong performance, even if it’s just wistful looks of remorse, he captures the screen. Affleck and Harrelson do respectable jobs in their turns and even Zoë Saldana, a relative newcomer to dramatic films, stands her grounds with these titans of cinema. The director Scott Cooper uses color and lighting effectively to convey various mood and incorporates different, almost rustic cinematography which was a nice touch and allowed for easy watch ability.

In the end, I was left feeling bored. Early critics had pegged this film as an intense and bloody revenge tale, but anyone who has seen Taken has seen more carnage than in this film. A weak story, followed by an even weaker finale and poor pacing is balanced out by the exemplary acting and directing, but they don’t save the downtrodden film. Out of the Furnace should have stayed in the oven a bit longer and cooked some more for the necessary kick it needed.