Have you ever seen a movie that features an all-star cast, but the movie turned out to be lousy and all you can think is, “How did that movie attract so many stars to it?” If the answer to that question is yes then be prepared because “Out of the Furnace” starring Oscar winners Christian Bale and Forrest Whitaker, plus Academy Award nominated actors Casey Affleck and Woody Harrelson is such a movie. The word of mouth must have been bad too as it only pulled in about $5.3 million this past weekend.
Russell Baze and Rodney Baze Jr. (Bale and Affleck) are brothers who live in a small mill town in upstate New York. Russell works in the local mill while Rodney joined the army where he did four tours of duty overseas. When Rodney heads off to New Jersey to participate in an illegal fight night and doesn’t return, Russell sets out to find out what happened.
The biggest question one asks after seeing “Out of the Furnace” beside what attracted all those actors to that bad script, is “What was the point of that movie?” It’s a very good question that may not have an answer because there doesn’t seem to be a point. The movie lays out how there is a strong bond between the brothers, but Rodney is the typical “loser” brother character that has been depicted in movies many times before. He doesn’t want to work in the mill, he has no skill set, yet wants something more out of life without having any idea or plan on what he wants to do. Russell, on the other hand, has something happen to him at the beginning of the movie that doesn’t appear to be his fault. It has a major effect on his life, but the way it occurs makes little sense other than a plot point for the film to progress. Someone should have told writer/director Scott Cooper that plot points need to make sense in order for them to be successful.
One question you may ask during the movie, if you choose to see it, is “When is something going to happen?” One person at an advanced screening of the movie in Aventura did. It felt like the movie spends over an hour setting itself up. When everything is finally laid out, the audience still is not invested in the characters, nor cares about their fates. The script is poorly constructed. You would think with all that set up, we’d care about the characters more.
The acting is very good. In addition to the great Academy Award recognized cast previously mentioned, Zoe Saldana co-stars as well. She has not been recognized by the Oscars yet, but here is another performance of hers that shows that is only a matter of time before she finally has her day. However, in regards to “Out of the Furnance” if a cast of unknowns were cast, it is hard to imagine it would ever get distribution. It is rated R for strong violence, language and drug content.