Great, diverse, game changing actors are hard to find and seeing them flex their muscle in the middle of their career and prove their greatness is even more rare. Christian Bale is in the throws of that period in his career. After winning an Oscar for his role in The Fighter, one might take it a little easy and make a little money before continuing his conquest of acting. Bale has not.
Bale would go on and make The Dark Night Rises and to conclude his great run at Bruce Wayne/Batman. The role in the Dark Knight series is the role of a lifetime and along with an Oscar would settle any actor down and let him just make his money in his and career because everything has been accomplished. Bale is not of that sort. He continues to challenge himself. Bale’s newest film is just proof that he is not done challenging himself and his fans.
In Out Of The Furnace, Bale plays Russell Baze, a good man who is jailed after a drunk driving accident leaves a person dead. Upon his release he once again feels the need to keep what little family he has, together. His family consists of his younger brother Rodney and his uncle. When Rodney, a veteran who is troubled by his time in Iraq, finds himself in deep water with the worst kind of people, Russell is forced to enter this world and take vengeance on those people.
Rodney is just as wonderfully played by Casey Affleck as Russell is by Bale. The raw emotion burned on the screen by both men is seared into the minds and emotions of the viewer as well. Taking place in the “Rust Belt”, which is a particularly heart breaking area of the country, is a near perfect location in that it lends itself to the hardship in Russell’s life and mirrors his struggles.
Directed by Scott Cooper, who previously directed Jeff Bridges in his Oscar winning role in Crazy Heart, proves he is among directors to be noticed. Cooper has again brought out top performances from his actors. At the same time he has made a visually stunning and even haunting film. His vision of the battered and worn out “Rust Belt” area truly shows the hardship of the area that was at one time a thriving area. He has made the community in which they live a character itself.
This is a film that could possibly hold some heavy Oscar nominations but at the same time it wouldn’t be a shock to see it shut out. Never the less, it is strong, powerful film that shows suffering and hardship in a way and world many only hope doesn’t exist but does. With outstanding performances top to bottom the unflinching and real heart and emotion that comes through is unquestionable. The other side is the truly terrifying side of humanity shown in Woody Harrelson”s character and the world he lives in and rules. It is a film not to be missed and experienced. It will leave you quite moved.