Out of the Furnace

December 16th, 2013


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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.

Release Year: 2013

Rating: 7.1/10 (566 voted)

Director: Scott Cooper

Russell and his younger brother Rodney live in the economically-depressed Rust Belt, and have always dreamed of escaping and finding better lives. But when a cruel twist of fate lands Russell in

Writers: ,

Taglines: Sometimes your battles choose you.


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Country: ,

Release Date:

Filming Locations: Braddock, Pennsylvania, USA

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User Review



Film's that seek to contemplate ideas on injustice or venture the blackest hidden fissures of society that influence the health of the human psyche certainly take on the risky but potentially rewarding task of making the purely bleak into something poetically involving. This seems to be the driving force behind the intention of director Scott Cooper's sophomore directorial effort, co-written by Brad Inglesby and Cooper himself, who is just coming off the high of obtaining Jeff Bridges an Oscar from his first feature Crazy Heart, the alcoholic slanted country singing film closely related to Tender Mercies. It's clear that Cooper is a student of cinema and his clear intention with Out of the Furnace was to capture the turbulent bleakness that was evident in the tone of reflective cinema in the 70s, such as the war, post-war, and employment struggles of say Michael Cimino's Deer Hunter, Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver, and Hal Ashby's Coming Home, and applying their societal criticism through amplified drama in a film that tackles symptoms of the modern American nightmare. This film is also a frigidly bleak combination of a neo-war and neo-western that intended to contemplate the American tendency of descending into violence through desperate claims for retribution in the face of injustice. However, intention doesn't often find a link to effective drama and poetic engagement because the debilitating aspect to Cooper's latest film is the fact that it begins in uncomfortable morbidity and never leaves it lingering on a downward spiral of depressing occurrences keeping the film flat lining until a semi-rewarding final half hour. The assumption held within the incessantly bleak Out of the Furnace is that unfortunate circumstances themselves equal audience sympathy for oddly subtle semi- developed characters hoping that the utilization of weighty melodrama and overt depictions of modern societal ills pummels you into histrionic submission. There's something to be admired in Scott Cooper's ambition to tackle dark themes that attempt to depict a portrait of damaged humanity amidst what he sees as societal degradation but it seems his promising talent and the definite promise of powerful performances from a cast of exceptional actors just goes to waste as his eerily silent yet questionably confused ending comes to a steady halt. Out of the Furnace has the cinematic qualities of a reflective film of the 70s, including grainy cinematography and an uneasy yet powerful complimentary score, and while it attempts to be thematically high concept it lands flat through its unrelenting cynicism that possibly could have succeeded in a more matured director's hands.