“Furnace” was obviously written to revolve around Russell and his quest for absolution and vengeance, but although the ever-talented Bale capably carries the picture where required, Affleck almost steals the show – what little there is to steal, anyway.
Russell ultimately becomes a man who loses seemingly everything, including the love of his life (Saldana), and is thus left with no reason to remain on the straight and narrow. What path will he choose?
If “Furnace’s” performances are so award-worthy, one might ask, WHY, exactly, didn’t it receive any nominations? The answer lies in both the film’s pacing and in a story that lacks focus.
“Furnace” meanders along with no real plot and an ever-present sense that the narrative is headed for some far-more specific and concrete conclusion than is ever actually reached. There’s no argument Cooper – who co-wrote the script with Brad Ingelsby – nails character motivation and nuance; but in creating these people and in helping his cast breathe them into life, the director falls woefully short in regards to effective storytelling.
The result is an odd, ultimately unsatisfying mix of tedium and fascination. Without these performances, in fact, “Furnace” would amount to a completely forgettable bore.
“Out of the Furnace” won’t stick with you long after its ending, but it’s a can’t-look-away experience from start to finish thanks to the merits of its cast.
Rating: Bark-and-a-half (**1/2)
Runtime: 116 minutes
Rated R for intense violence, gore, language and sexuality
Rating System Explained: Rabies = 0; Yip = *; Bark = **; Howl = ***; Lone-wolf howl = ****; Leader of the pack = *****
Contact: Rob Cox 812-663-3111 x7011; email@example.com