Film review: Out Of The Furnace

Brotherly love burns bright, and lights the fuse on a powder keg of messy emotions in Scott Cooper’s slow-burning and sporadically violent revenge thriller.

Out Of The Furnace is unrelentingly bleak and trades in the misery of hard-working, hard-drinking folks, who exist just above the poverty line in Braddock, Pennsylvania and must occasionally break the law to survive.

Undated Film Still Handout from Out Of The Furnace. Pictured: Christian Bale as Russel Baze. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Lionsgate. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

Undated Film Still Handout from Out Of The Furnace. Pictured: Christian Bale as Russel Baze. See PA Feature FILM Film Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Lionsgate. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Film Reviews.

The opening scene – a blood-spattered punch-up at a drive-in cinema – establishes the grim tone and film’s repeated use of bruised knuckles rather than words to resolve bitter disputes.

Pain is etched on the face of every character in Cooper’s film, and suffer they do, most grievously. Justice is served with hunting rifles and murderous stares.

This descent into the heart of darkness is predictable but Cooper sparks the script, co-written by Brad Ingelsby, to life with incendiary performances from Christian Bale, Casey Affleck and Woody Harrelson.