OUT OF THE FURNACE, 2013
Director: Scott Cooper
Stars: Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Zoe Saldana
Review by Matthew Toffolo
When Rodney Baze mysteriously disappears and law enforcement fails to follow through, his older brother, Russell, takes matters into his own hands to find justice.
What I loved about this movie:
- Performances that were so real it's almost like certain actors are acting in a different league than the rest. Christian Bale deserves recognition and awards for his role. He doesn't say much and reacts mostly to the sadness of his world, but we seem to truly understand this man, and despite his faults, we root for him all the way. I remember Bale stating in his Golden Globes winning speech for 'The Fighter' that the flashy roles always get the awards and accolades, but it's really the reactionary roles that are truly the tougher performances (paraphrasing). And this time Bale shows the rest of the world what he was talking about.
Perhaps a film too violent and rough around the edges to gain any Oscar nominations, but I'll always remember witnessing a truly marvelous performance in Christian Bale. He's a master at playing two types of characters: The messed up intelligent guy who has an idealistic way to solve his problems. And the messed up not-so-smart guy who has an idealistic way to solve his problems.
- Casey Affeck isn't too shabby himself. He rose to the occasion and his scenes are very memorable.
- Scott Cooper's direction and final cut. Not a wasted scene or moment in this film. Didn't over-explain the plot and situations. The first half especially is a great piece of filmmaking art. The world is grey - bottomline. Watch this film and explain the plot-points to someone afterwards - you're going to have a tough time with it without making a judgement of any sort. And that's what this film is about. We are all battling inside and outside. No one's life is ever that easy to explain. Cooper takes it up a notch from his first film 'Crazy Heart'. He's growing as a filmmaker. And it's pretty obvious that this man can get some amazing performances out of his actors. Or at least have an excellent casting directing and team to hire outstanding actors for his roles.
What I liked about this movie:
Pearl Jam's 'Release Me' song beginning and ending the film. It's sets up both the tone and the overall thematic.
What I was okay this but wished it was planned better.
I get what's separating this film from being a masterpiece is the plot point to set up the final 1/3 of the film. It seemed to have come out of a one of those obvious is obvious bad mystery novels. Everything was so smart with the exception of about 10 minutes in the middle when Rodney and his partner are driving home. Too easy set up in an otherwise extremely tight screenplay.
But overall, this is a pretty terrific film that I am so glad I got to see. After watching so many bad Hollywood kiddy type films, this was a true memorable view and makes me understand why I got into this business in the first place.