Cast: Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe.
With only 2009’s CRAZY HEART to his name, Scott Cooper’s OUT OF THE FURNACE struggles to disguise its relatively green writer-director. What could have been an intelligent, tense revenge thriller unfortunately soon unravels as a redneck version of TAKEN; a paint by numbers and completely unremarkable affair that signposts any shock tactics from a mile off. However, with Ridley Scott and Leonardo DiCaprio (originally set to direct and star) onboard as producers, it’s hardly surprising it attracted such impressive talent.
After a tragic car accident puts Russell Baze (Christian Bale) behind bars, he returns to a place where everything is fundamentally the same, but inescapably different. His younger, Iraq-serving brother Rodney (Casey Affleck) seeks solace in physical bouts, while girlfriend Lena (Zoe Saldana) is far more standoffish than hoped. But Rodney’s addiction to the boxing ring is more than just a hobby as he finds himself sucked into a dangerous world of underground fighting, headed by the nefarious Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson). When little bro mysteriously goes missing and local police chief Wesley (Forest Whitaker) is slow to act, Russell decides to take matters into his own hands. Continue reading