Out Of The Furnace [2013] ★★½

Out-of-the-Furnace-PosterChristian Bale has been on a roll for a few years now, with movies like “The Fighter”, “American Hustle” and “The Dark Knight” trilogy under his belt. He’s a movie star with real acting chops, and he makes any movie worth watching. Case in point: “Out Of The Furnace”, an uneven but effective drama about a guy (Bale) who works the Furnace, takes care of his dying father, then winds up in prison following a car accident. Meanwhile, his brother Rodney (Casey Affleck) is trying to pay off gambling debts by having Willem Dafoe (in a unusual role) book him for deadly fist fights. To avoid spoilers, I’ll shut up. But with a dynamite cast (do Bale and Dafoe ever fuck up?), a good director (Scott Cooper, whose 2009 debut “Crazy Heart” won Jeff Bridges an Oscar) , you assume a great film. What you get is an ambitious try instead. The music is a good fit for the vivid look of the picture. But the writing is wildly uneven, fleshing out some characters and leaving others as cyphers. With so many strong ingredients, including a powerhouse cast, “Out of the Furnace” should have hit the bull’s-eye. Too bad it doesn’t.

Rating: 2.5/4


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