Out of the Furnace is a look at nice guys who end up making poor choices in life that brings out the ugliness in human nature. Christian Bale plays Russell Baze, a blue collared Pennsylvania steel worker who makes a bad decision that ruins his life and the lives of the innocent people involved with his mistake. His brother Rodney (Casey Affleck) on the other hand makes the honorable choice serving multiple tours in Iraq, but it crushes him mentally after his experience with war. This drives Rodney to drink, involve himself with organized crime and put his life in harm’s way.

What unfolds in Out of the Furnace is a gritty revenge film that makes you feel sad for the characters messy lives, even if you can relate to the brothers’ problems. I don’t want to spoil too much concerning Bale’s character because I feel it will ruin the experience. So I apologize if my review seems vague. The acting is top-notch with the underrated Casey Affleck shining in a limited role as the shell-shocked Rodney. Affleck proves he’s much more than Ben Affleck’s skinny little brother with his gut wrenching role of a broken soldier.

Out of the Furnace is beautifully shot capturing the grey and dreary scenery of the blue collared steel towns that make up the state of Pennsylvania. Out of the Furnace has a feel similar to the The Deer Hunter mixed with Fight Club courtesy of Woody Harrelson’s South Jersey Mountain Man gangster. Harrelson’s performance is vicious, disgusting and downright scary. You really want to see this piece of trash go down at the hands of Baze. The finale of Out of the Furnace rivals Seven exhibiting the choices you make in life under stressful situations. The conclusion of Out of the Furnace is tough to watch, but I think I would have probably done the same thing if I was in Baze’s shoes.

Overall, I give Out of the Furnace 3 out of 4 stars.

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