Russell Baze (Christian Bale) ekes out a living working in a steel mill and leading a normal life until one day fate intervenes and he happens to be involved in a driving accident which lands him in prison. His younger brother Rodney Baze (Casey Affleck) is an ex-soldier who has been scarred mentally due to his experiences in Iraq in the war against Saddam. Struggling to make ends meet with Russell in prison, Rodney gets involved with a ruthless crime gang led by Harlan (Woody Harrelson) which ends up with the situation being bad for everybody involved.
While the movie “Out of the furnace” attracted me due to the rave reviews I had read about it recently in various movie blogs, the fact that the ensemble cast involved the acting talents of Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Daniel Defoe and Forest Whitaker meant that this was almost a must-watch movie. And the fact that almost all the reviews praised Bale’s performance more than quite a bit piqued my interest in the same, as I have only know him to act behind the cowl in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Frankly I found his outings in “Reign of Fire” [Link to review] and “Equilibrium” quite uninspiring. I guess the script didn’t have as much scope for him to perform as this movie did.
Out of the furnace is an extremely grim movie without even a hint of happiness, light-heartedness at all. In fact even the cinematography seems to bring out the seriousness of the setting very well. Casey Affleck who is somebody who I absolutely loved in “Gone Baby Gone” has a reasonably small but pivotal role in the movie, and he performs out of his skin in the same. Woody Harrelson takes evil to an entirely new level in this outing of his. While I anticipated a stellar performance based on the reviews I had read, seeing it in action simply blew my breath away.
Christian Bale is given an opportunity to do what he does best, look serious and brood through the entire length of the movie. But then he also portrays more than a wide range of emotions. Ranging from sorrow at his father’s death to elation at being released from prison, frustration at his girlfriend having left him to anger at his brother’s plight, Bale displays the entire gamut and does them all equally well.
Watch this movie only if you are a fan of grim, serious, award-type movies. This is not for the viewers looking for a simple fluffy light-hearted weekend movie.
All images in this post have been sourced from IMDB.