Film review: Out of the Furnace (9 out of 10)

Christian Bale and Casey Affleck in Out of the Furnace
Christian Bale and Casey Affleck in Out of the Furnace

Sometimes a film slides on to the big screen with little publicity or fanfare and just leaves you in awe at its brilliance.

I’ve no idea why Out of the Furnace hasn’t been given much publicity or why the movie marketing machine hasn’t given it the boost it deserves.

Maybe it’s just the title that has turned a few people off.

As a 2013 release in the US it should have had a bunch of award nominations.

Instead, this superb film by director Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart) is passing people by.

In my humble opinion it’s the best performance I’ve seen from Christian Bale and the rest of the cast is also excellent.

And what a cast - Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana, Sam Sheppard and Forest Whitaker to highlight just the well known actors.

Even behind the scenes, Ridley Scott and Leonardo DiCaprio have had a hand as producers.

Bale plays steel worker Russell Baze, a loving son and brother trying to carve a life out of a depressed part of the US pre-President Obama.

In this worn-down sad looking town he is doing OK but one mistake wrecks his life.

After a spell in prison he has to cope with loss and a wayward brother (Affleck) and deal with the vicious street fight arranger Harlan DeGroat (a role Harrelson plays superbly).

There’s plenty of violence but we are introduced to a violent world from the very beginning and it all fits in well.

The final third is possibly a bit drawn out but full marks to Cooper for having the guts to go with the ending he chose.

But if you want to see terrific acting, especially the scenes with Bale alongside Saldana and Affleck, then try this film out.

Add to the mix some superb music and you have another excellent movie in what has already been a top-notch year for UK releases.

Film details: Out of the Furnace (15) 116mins

Director: Scott Cooper

Starring: Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson

Screening courtesy of Cineworld Crawley