Out of the Furnace

Rated 3.0

The new film from Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart) mixes violent action with some sensitively written (and very well-acted) character drama. Brutal violence pretty much gets the first and last word in this case, but the character of Russell Baze and Christian Bale’s very fine performance in the role are likely to be the things that stay with you after the bloodletting has stopped. The story revolves around Bale’s character, a steel-mill worker in a decaying Rust Belt town, and his wayward younger brother, Rodney (Casey Affleck), an Iraq war vet (four stints) trying to fast-start his bankroll via gambling and bare-knuckle boxing matches. A sad-sack bar-owner/gambler/promoter (Willem Dafoe) gets Rodney a high-stakes match in the domain of a terrifying backwoods crime boss (Woody Harrelson) ruling over an “inbred” clan of hillbilly psychopaths, and when Dafoe and Affleck’s characters fail to return from their venture among the “inbreds,” Russell and his steadfast uncle (Sam Shepard) take action. Cinemark 14. Rated R