Out of the Furnace

Out of the Furnace from 2013 doesn’t work, people have compared it to The Deer Hunter, but you need to set your expectations a lot lower than that. However, what it’s trying to do is admirable in American film. It’s looking at a depressed community full of depressed people, there’s no CGI in sight and it’s shot on real life 35mm film.

So, what’s the story? Like The Indian Runner which I’ve blogged about before this is a tale of brothers, one (again like The Indian Runner) has been damaged by his experience in war. The other is a decent man whose life takes a turn for the worse.

What’s to like? I don’t think any other recent film has so many good actors in it. While it doesn’t quite add up there are scenes and bits of business from the cast that are breath taking. Harrelson is a long way from his comedy acting in this and has some real danger about him. Bale has a stunning scene with Saldana on a bridge which is worth seeing the film for alone. The real standout is Dafoe who seems very real. Affleck is great also and has one nice shouty scene. But there’s more…

Shooting on film the picture looks and feels like a throwback to the 70s, but what’s more affecting is the use of music. I’m a big fan of Pearl Jam and the film uses one of their early songs ‘Release’ – it doesn’t just use the song, but whole soundtrack is designed around the atmospherics of the Pearl Jam recording. It works very well.

So, go in with low expectations and you might find an intelligent and affecting film somewhere in the muddle of the movie. The trailer is below, featuring the song ‘Release’.

So, 37 films to go…

Matthew Cooper has written for Emmerdale, Eastenders, Hollyoaks and Family Affairs. He was winner of the first ever Lloyds Bank Channel Four Film Challenge and the Oscar Moore Screenplay Prize. His first short film starred a then unknown Ewan McGregor and was picked up by Channel Four when Matthew was 19 years old. He’s been a script writer for hire and filmmaker for hire for over 20 years.