Out of the furnace 2013 movie

Out of the Furnace – An undiscovered family drama with Christian Bale

We often admire only the most famous movies by the most famous actors, like Christian Bale, but we miss out on authentic little gems like this 2013 movie, Out of the Furnace.

In this poignant human drama of strength, endurance, and courage, Bale portrays the unlucky Russell Baze, a simple, honest man striving to rebuild his life after prison.

So he begins working in a furnace, trying to forget the girl with whom he was about to start a family before his arrest.

But today, everything is obviously very different, so Russell is content with little money while having some peace and quiet, but his younger brother, Rodney Jr., disagrees.

Rodney likes easy money and is, therefore, always in debt to his bookie, the slimy John Petty. To settle the score, he convinces him to participate in an underground fight organized by vicious criminals.

But to go, even the leader of these ruffians, the raving lunatic Harlan DeGroat, informs the boy that he must lose the match, and so, giving up his pride, he agrees and allows himself to be severely defeated by his opponent.

Despite this, criminals ambush him on the way back, mercilessly killing both him and the bookie to the indifference of the local police, who fear Harlan and his group of violent thugs.

But this does not frighten Russell at all, in whom is born the irrepressible desire to avenge the injustice and death of his brother, whatever the cost and consequence.

Justice, brotherly love and freedom

Out of the Furnace is one of those movies that escaped the radar of many movie lovers in 2013, perhaps due to poor distribution and marketing, possibly overshadowed by other, more famous productions.

Greeted with indifference by the public, though sufficiently appreciated by critics, the notoriety of the actors in the cast unfortunately was not enough to give this film enough light, resulting in an inevitable commercial failure.

Yet this realistic and exciting drama is perfectly balanced, with all the characters having believable and fascinating personalities and a dark psychological depth, creating a story context that could be perfectly true somewhere out there in this crazy world.

Director Scott Cooper creates an excellent family thriller. These two brothers are a simple example of the hard life in American suburbia, exposing without censorship how the working poor have ever so few opportunities to lead peaceful and honest lives.

However, most of them work hard without complaint, toiling all their lives without having excellent prospects for ease and wealth.

Not surprisingly, all of the environments in which the story takes place are poor, cold, hopeless, and dimly lit, similar to the prison from which the protagonist emerges at the beginning.

In contrast, the outdoor environments are flooded with light that exposes even better the urban desolation of American suburbia, which consists of crumbling houses, closed and bankrupt industries, and doors barred by planks to deny any possibility of future and redemption.

Cooper writes an excellent script with Brad Ingelsby, giving the movie the right pace and flashes of violent action in the midst of the monotonous and almost boring flow of these ordinary lives.

In this context, even the villains have their own psychology and motivations, giving the right background that completes the circle between protagonists and antagonists.

Hot furnace of talent

Considering the burden of the human factor in this story, choosing a cast up to the arduous task was vital.

Let’s start with the big star on the cover, Christian Bale, an actor whose praise I sing whenever I can for his chameleon-like ability to go from role to role, which is very different from one another and highly complex and multifaceted psychologically.

For example, his version of Batman was the one in which we saw the character of Bruce Wayne without a mask for the longest time, not to mention other incredible action heroes such as Equilibrium or Reign of Fire or his still very young debut in Steven Spielberg’s Empire Of The Sun; finally arriving at the monstrous performance in The Machinist, which to this day remains definitely my favorite movie with this actor.

In this case, Bale’s challenge is to be an ordinary man in a dangerous and extraordinary situation while at the same time trying to mend his relationship with his former beloved, played by the always fabulous Zoe Saldana.

The beautiful Zoe always looks gorgeous in both the green of Guardians of the Galaxy and the bright blue of Avatar, although unfortunately, in this case, the actress does not have much time and space to make this character shine.

Equally good is Casey Affleck as the impatient young brother, whom we find face to face with a solid suburban villain played with a crazy grin by Woody Harrelson.

Old Woody can be either funny to roll around in many comedies or creepy and lucidly insane with equal bravura, not to mention the immense help of the supporting cast with two cinematic sacred monsters like Willem Dafoe and Forest Whitaker, as always impeccable in a sumptuous flawless performance.

Finally, I would close the applause for the cast by naming Sam Shepard, who is perfect in the role of the harsh old uncle who is practically the only one who believes and tries to help the protagonist. As you can see from the big names above, combined with excellent direction and screenplay, Out of the Furnace is, without a shadow of a doubt, a movie that deserves your attention, especially if you are among the many who unfortunately missed it in 2013.

Out of the furnace 2013 movie
Amazon Prime Video
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