As per usual, a movie doesn't usually live up to what I hear about it. In the case of Out of the Furnace, I was expecting a gritty story about how we don't make anything in America anymore, and how that has a rather negative impact on personalities, especially in the small towns where the factories shut down. Well, spoiler alerts: the factory is perhaps the only thing in the movie that's not shut down. Christian Bale plays the quiet, hard working older brother, and Casey Affleck plays the younger, reckless brother. Most families seem to pan out that way, don't they? Affleck gets involved in the very seamy underground fight club circuit. The story seems to take place in Pennsylvania, and it just so happens that it's next door to the armpit of the South, where even Penn's finest police officers fear to tread, or due to some fancy gerrymandering, they're not allowed to go. To make this tangled web of a three-legged chair complete, Forest Whitaker plays the cop that tries going after the bad guy, but has successfully stolen Bale's fiancée away after Bale goes to prison on a drunk driving charge. The crushing weight of the grittiness of the story's setting is lifted when the purity of the thirst for vengeance takes over: ultra-redneck and arch underground fight club kingpin Woody Harrelson ends up killing Casey Affleck and local Moe Syzslak-ish arch-criminal Willem Dafoe. Bale seeks justice. Whitaker tells Bale that Harrelson lives outside of his jurisdiction... wasn't there a few Westerns like that? Anyway, it all wraps up a little too neat and tidy for my tastes, but my friend's a Christian Bale fan, so he cut it more slack than me.
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan