Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Out of the Furnace

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Listen up, kids:  Furnaces are hot.  This has been a life lesson from the good Reverend.

Out of the Furnace – 3 out of 5

It’s like the old saying says, “Out of the furnace and into a chocolaty cake.” Wait, nobody says that.  Is the saying, “When life gets you out of the furnace you make furnace-ade?” No…that’s not it because that is idiotic. Actually, what is really going on here is I’m buying time to try and come up with a opening paragraph for this review and I basically have nothing so I’m just rambling on about absolutely nothing and making shit up until I feel I’ve reached the point that I can make the abrupt jump to the synopsis—

Why do I feel Casey Affleck should be blasting REO Speedwagon in this shot?
Russell Baze (Christian Bale) and Rodney Baze (Casey Affleck) are a pair of brothers who are just trying to make it in the world. Rodney spent some time in Iraq and is troubled with an addiction to gambling and is now owing money to a local bar owner and game runner; John Petty (Willem Dafoe). Russell tries to bale (ha ha, get it? Bale is trying to bale out someone) his brother but, as fate would have it, he gets into a car accident while drinking and driving and is sent to prison. While there Rodney starts to get in deep with Fight Club-like underground fighting and, after Russell is released from prison, Rodney gets in trouble with a backwoods fight organizer (Woody Harrelson) and goes missing. Now Russell is on a mission to find out what happened to his brother and he won’t let the fact he’s an ex-con or the fact he’s going after a dangerous man stop him.

"I'm just telling you that your brother isn't going to be as good as I was in the suit..."

Out of the Furnace was a film that I had intended on seeing in the theater when it came out but because the time never presented itself (and, more importantly, the funds never presented itself) I never got to see it, so I waited until it was released on DVD. While I enjoyed the film, waiting to see it was worth it because I didn’t think it would have been worth the inflated ticket price and the intestinal issues that movie popcorn gives me but my addiction to it will never let me stop ordering a tub of it.

Fun Fact:  The butter from movie popcorn is the product they used in Willem Dafoe's
hair in this film.

I love revenge stories, so the story of a brother trying to locate what happened to his kin after he gets involved with a drug-dealing, drug-taking underground bare-knuckle fight organizer was something I easily got into. In fact, the basic concept behind the story is awesome and filled with all kinds of drama and intrigue (and it looked all kinds of gritty and cool); however, the story did have some issues for me as the film likes to throw in a lot of back story that Russell is going through and the changes that have happened to his life after he got out of prison. While I appreciate seeing the heartache that is caused to Bale’s character when he learns the love of his life moved on while he was behind bars and has to deal with the fact she is with the Chief of police (played by Forest Whitaker), all the while simultaneously dealing with the same Chief for the disappearance of his brother, it just occasionally felt like a distraction and something that pulled away from the dynamic and drama of his relationship with his brother. This, ultimately, became the one thing that stopped this film from scoring higher with me because I loved everything else. The issues outside of a missing brother in Russell’s life were important to the story, the problem was they just occasionally felt like the story was meandering away from the missing brother aspect.

Who would have thought that it was going to be Woody Harrelson that went on to have
the best career after Cheers ended.

Out of the Furnace has a fantastic cast made up of ridiculously talented actors who all do their jobs greatly. I hate to single out any single one of them above the others because each actor did their role perfectly. However, Christian Bale (who we already know is a man with God-like acting talent) was wickedly amazing as Russell Baze. The emotion he gives off felt way too real to the point he made the character practically jump off the screen and head off to live a normal life as a regular Joe you would see on any given day. One scene that particularly pops in my head (and really struck a chord in me) was after he was out and he approaches the woman who left him while he was in the clink (played by Zoe Saldana) and finds out she is pregnant. The break down he has was haunting as you can see that he is both happy for her but falling apart inside because he fully realizes that they are done. 

God dammit, I'm crying just looking at a picture of Christian Bale crying.

And I can’t help but emphasize that the other actors in the film were also tremendous…whether it be how unhinged Harrelson’s character was, the ordeal and chemistry between Dafoe and Affleck’s characters or the small, but important, part done by Whitaker; each actor proves why they are big names and really brought this dark, gritty tale to life.

I'm having one of those desires to paint a door black again...

Out of the Furnace may not have been the brutal tale of revenge I kinda thought it was going to end up being when I sat down and some elements of the story weren’t blended as well as I hoped they could have been but it’s not a bad film by a long shot. The acting is incredible, the human drama is heavy and satisfying and the film has a killer ending. Even though I had hoped for more, the film still was a great movie and I feel is worth the time to at least rent it from RedBox—although a theater ticket may seem like too much…unless it’s a budget theater, then that might be worth it. By the way, RedBox, I dropped your name (again) and I’m expecting a check in the mail so that, maybe, when I feel like seeing a film in the theater I can afford it.

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