With the help of a mysterious pill that enables the user to access 100 percent of his brain abilities, a struggling writer becomes a financial wizard, but it also puts him in a new world with lots of dangers.
Homeless and on the run from a military court martial, a damaged ex-special forces soldier navigating London's criminal underworld seizes an opportunity to assume another man's identity -- transforming into an avenging angel in the process.
Russell and his younger brother Rodney live in the economically-depressed Rust Belt, and have always dreamed of escaping and finding better lives. But when a cruel twist of fate lands Russell in prison, his brother becomes involved with one of the most violent and ruthless crime rings in the Northeast - a mistake that will cost him everything. Once released, Russell must choose between his own freedom, or risk it all to seek justice for his brother. Written by
A Promising Start That Leads to Run-Of-The-Mill Fare
An all-star cast, comprising Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, and Zoe Saldana (wow!), is cast into the cavernous of troubles. Two brothers- one a former solider who served in Iraq (Rodney, played by Casey Affleck) and the other an impoverished factory worker (Russell, played by Christian Bale) - embark on vastly disparate paths. Their relationship has lost its bygone flare, considering Rodney's extensively damaged psyche and his desire to stray away from standard work, instead choosing to make money off of brutal street fighting and gambling. When he asininely involves himself with ruthless wagering criminals (led by Woody Harrelson), all circumstances invert and numerous lives are consequently affected.
The first half of the film carries an incredibly strong premise and features a truly gripping narrative that focuses on character development/characterization, which compellingly leads to the ultimate predicament. In essence, a major portion of the film's enticement should be accredited to the exceptionally powerful performances, and Casey Affleck remarkably fights for that recognition by showcasing his deteriorating soul. I mention Affleck specifically because he rarely receives ample praise for his impressive renditions. Furthermore, in that first half, the pacing is smooth and adequate as you sympathize with these distressed characters and are stunned by a sudden unfortunate incident after another, personalities still further strengthening. The arresting visual look of the film partially produces that final element of attraction to the end product.
As we proceed though and the midpoint sequence comes and goes, the pacing suddenly decelerates and we encounter additional characters and arcs that are frankly unnecessary and don't benefit the picture in any way. Once the credits roll, you don't feel like Forest Whitaker's character deserved the amount of screen time he ended up with, portraying an archetypal police officer and barely anything more. We're met with countless prolonged and dispensable scenes that are more stereotypical than beneficial to the film's substance and overall plot. The excitement of the first half, fueled by unpredictability and conflict, takes a nosedive and the thriller chooses to tediously capture the lengthy search for the villain alternatively. Finally, the audience is presented with an anticlimactic conclusion that again feels far too familiar and unsatisfying despite the enthralling story beforehand. There's essentially nothing unique in its final act to induce the amount of memorability that the first half accomplished since it ends like your typical run-of-the-mill revenge flick.
In sum, Scott Cooper effectively conveys the rural and destitute atmosphere, and the film is genuinely gritty and honest in its depiction of labor and the unrewarding lives that are led by courageous soldiers upon returning home. These are the lives of a considerably high percentage of America's population and the movie's thematic material speaks volumes on this controversial and profoundly relevant matter. Out of the Furnace certainly forces its viewers to react in particularly shocking sequences, eliciting a variety of emotions. Even though the film's quality noticeably degrades while it advances, this tale will undoubtedly provoke intrigue and fervor until the screen fades to black.
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