Honestly, I forgot why I wanted to see this movie. As the two hours I sat in the theater drug on, I tried to recall what it was in the trailer that enticed me to see it. I remembered when the film finally got to the point, after more than half its running time had passed. By then I didn’t care.
Out of the Furnace stars Christian Bale as Russ, I guess. I needed to look that up to be sure. I realized as the second act started that I didn’t know his character’s name. I asked my girlfriend at this point and she didn’t know either. That’s a really bad sign, but one that I was expecting. Scott Free, the production company created by Ridley and Tony Scott, were behind the movie. Seeing their logo at the start of the film let me know I was going to have a bad time. I don’t care for films from either of the Scott brothers. Though they didn’t direct, their thumb prints were all over this.
The main problem with the movie was the direction and editing. I appreciated the story for what it was, but it was never explained well, or at all. Director and writer Scott Cooper wanted to show us this story, not tell. The showing was more hit than miss. Bale was slightly drunk driving home. He hit a car, committing manslaughter. In the process of helping the victims the scene cuts, showing him working in prison. Not a word is said about what his crime was (murder, manslaughter, etc.), or the length of his sentence. In that instance, it worked well. But that was one of the rare cases.
Along with Bale, the film featured Casey Affleck as his brother, Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, Forest Whitaker, and Willem Defoe. With such a star studded cast I expected more. They spoke with vague redneck/southern accent. Most of the cast displayed this by mumbling. Bale’s accent faded in and out while Whitaker sounded like he was doing his best Batman impression, probably to spite Bale. I would say they nailed the speech pattern, but I’m not exactly sure where they were. I know for sure it’s about a 5 hour drive to Ramapo Mountains in New Jersey. The town was a obviously in the Rust Belt, but that could have been anywhere from Pittsburgh to Connecticut.
The final nail was the overly drawn out story. The trailers billed the movie as a revenge tale with Bale taking vengeance for Affleck’s death at the hands of Harrelson. The death didn’t occur until the second act, making the first feel superfluous. Bale going to prison, and pretty much everything he did had nothing to do with his brother’s death or establishing his character. It was evident that Bale was a hard working man, honorable man within the first 5 minutes. Everything after that belabored the point. Half of Bale’s scenes before his Affleck’s death could have been cut.
Opinions about this film are mixed across the board. I couldn’t wait to leave the theater while my girlfriend loved it. Rotten tomatoes has it as 51% (at the time of this writing). Wait for a rental, that way you wasted less money shutting it off than walking out of the theater.
Were you as bored as I was? Love it? Comment below!
I hope American Hustle is better.