Scott Cooper hits a sophomore slump with this, his first film since Crazy Heart. While the praise for that film was always more for Jeff Bridges' work than the technical skill from the young filmmaker, Out of the Furnace manages to squander one of the most talented ensembles to be seen this year. Christian Bale stars as Russell Baze, a man recently released from prison only to find that his girlfriend (Zoe Saldana) has left him for the local police chief (Forest Whitaker), and that his war-vet brother (Casey Affleck) is now fighting in bare-knuckle boxing matches set up by the local meth lord (Woody Harrelson). Cooper's preoccupation with the art of being a man has always been less than subtle. Whereas in Crazy Heart we were given scenes featuring smoky bars, broken-down trucks and womanizing heroes, here he shoots scenes of hunting deer with the solemnity usually conferred upon religious ceremonies. The cast tries to elevate the material, but the men are left in the dust by an amazing supporting turn by Saldana (Avatar). The body language and small gestures from the actress are some of the best work of her career.
Official Site: twitter.com/outofthefurnace
Director: Scott Cooper
Writer: Scott Cooper and Brad Inglesby
Producer: Jennifer D. Killoran, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ryan Kavanaugh, Ridley Scott and Michael Costigan
Cast: Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoë Saldana and Sam Shepard
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