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Movie Review

Out of the Furnace

MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, language and drug content.

Reviewed by: Pamela Gardner

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Crime Thriller Drama
1 hr. 56 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
December 4, 2013 (limited)
December 6, 2013 (wide—2,000+ theaters)
DVD: March 11, 2014
Copyright, Relativity Media click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Relativity Media Copyright, Relativity Media Copyright, Relativity Media Copyright, Relativity Media Copyright, Relativity Media Copyright, Relativity Media Copyright, Relativity Media Copyright, Relativity Media Copyright, Relativity Media
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Relativity Media

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer

ORIGIN OF BAD—How did bad things come about? Answer

prisons in the Bible

drunkenness in the Bible

causing death due to driving under the influence of alcohol

illegal drug production, sale and use

effects of war on returning veterans

caring for a terminally ill father

brothers / brother brother relationship

putting your life on the line to seek justice for your brother

bravery, courage, self-sacrifice


Featuring: Christian BaleRussell Baze
Zoe SaldanaLena Taylor
Woody HarrelsonHarlan DeGroat
Sam ShepardRed
Willem DafoeJohn Petty
Forest WhitakerWesley Barnes
Casey AffleckRodney Baze Jr.
Dendrie Taylor … De Groat’s Date
Boyd Holbrook
more »
Director: Scott Cooper—“Crazy Heart,” “Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me,” “Get Low”
Producer: Appian Way
Energy Entertainment
more »
Distributor: Relativity Media

“Sometimes your battles choose you.”

The films opens with two people at a drive-in. The scene quickly makes a wrong turn with the villain Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson) aiming to teach his date a hard lesson in respect. We then move to the protagonist of the story. Russell Baze (Christian Bale), is a hard working everyman who lives in the lower middle class, working as a steel worker. He leaves work and sees his brothers car at a local gambling dive. His brother Rodney Baze Jr. (Casey Affleck) was in the military and is struggling to integrate back into civilian life. It is revealed that Rodney is in deep financially with the wrong kind of people. Russell’s attempts to help his brother sets the stage for this tale of tragedy, mistakes and revenge. The plot is a true representation of the dark nature that is the human condition.

I chose to watch this film based solely on the actors involved, and, as far as acting goes, I was impressed and moved by the performances. Christian Bale proves once again he is a chameleon, completely transforming himself into Russell Baze, a man who loves his family and girlfriend Lena Taylor (Zoe Saldana), who is involved in a fatal car accident, in which he was at fault. Christian Bale’s portrait of Russell Baze is captivating and truly compelling. As for the antagonist played by Woody Harrelson, he is gritty and dark, I found myself repelled by the portrayal, which is the appropriate reaction to such a vile character. Other actors worth a mention are Willem Dafoe and Sam Shepard. As for Casey Affleck’s performance, it was believable, but not exceptional.

As for objectionable content, I’ll start with the language. The first 2 words in the film are G**-d***, and it gets worse from there. I counted over 50 blasphemies and 50 swear words, which drown out what was a truly riveting storyline. There is no sex to mention, however Russell and Lena are showed unmarried in bed together. Plus there is a vulgar scene with a hotdog. Finally, the violence is extreme, from bare knuckle boxing to people getting shot and killed. I must mention the drinking, there is a lot of it, it’s shown as a cause of a problem and a solution to problems.

Finally, the biblical perspective—Russell seeks forgiveness for the lives he took in the car accident. While in prison, he visits the chapel and the Chaplin is reading Isaiah 53:5, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” Even though he seeks forgiveness for his sins, he doesn’t trust God completely and still seeks revenge.

As for my recommendation, I am torn, the acting is marvelous, but the objectionable content is distracting and offensive, to say the least.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Extreme—f-words (almost 100), “G*d-d*mn” (7), “Jesus,” “Oh Chr*st,” “Oh G*d” (3), “Swear to God” (3), “God” (2), “For G*d’s sakes,” “hell” (6), “damns”(2), s-words (24), “ass” (8), S.O.B. (4), and various sexual slang / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

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