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Generally favorable reviews- based on 147 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 9 out of 147

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  1. Dec 5, 2013
    A solid film with brilliant performances. Bale disappears into his role as usual and has a heartbreaking scene with Zoe Saldana. Affleck is haunting as a damaged veteran, and Harrelson is great at playing unhinged characters. Cooper seems to lose control of the pace of the film in favor of atmospherics, which are affecting if a bit on the nose and overused. I would love to know if there were debates between Cooper, Ingelsby and the cast over the ending of the film which could have gone many different ways. Definitely worth your time for the performances alone. Expand
  2. Dec 5, 2013
    Christian Bale delivers a subtle, nuanced performance in this highly enjoyable film. The setting is essentially a principal cast member it's Deer Hunter country: Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Southern Jersey. Much like Winter's Bone, the director effectively establishes the extra-legal power structure in these mountain towns. Tradition rules of law and order do not apply. The harsh reality of steel mill careers, military life, and prison stints underline a very traditional story of desperation, justice, and revenge. The trailer suggests much more action and excitement than the film actually delivers, but I very much enjoyed this film for its emotionally resonant, quiet sequences featuring a stellar cast. Expand
  3. Dec 6, 2013
    One of the best movies I've seen all year. Surprised by the relatively low critic score but a definite must watch. Very gritty film and well shot. Great cast of characters with very strong performances.
  4. Jan 22, 2014
    It has been a while since I've seen a movie that pissed me off. The one out of ten is for one scene. Other than that, this is the worst Christian Bale movie to date. Yes even worse than "Reign of Fire". I'm going to do all the readers a favor, DO NOT PAY TO WATCH THIS MOVIE.
  5. Dec 19, 2013
    Arguably one of the most boring movies of 2013, Out of the Furnace suffers from a laid back, I don't care tone that gives us nothing to care about all the way to the end. By the midway point, the movie becomes exhausting and extremely predictable.
  6. Dec 23, 2013
    This is a sledgehammer of a film. Showing life in a backwater, the film powerfully makes you feel the hard choices its characters must make between working in a mill or turning to crime. Bale turns in his customarily fine work, but Casey Affleck is the real revelation of the film. The acting and direction are note perfect. It is nobody's idea of a Christmas movie and should have been released at a different time. Expand
  7. Dec 9, 2013
    Real choppy for the first hour. I feels like each scene was cut short by a few seconds which made it a distracting sequence of introductions. Many of the actors in this movie seem like they are bored while giving out their lines. Also that steel mill. We get to see it from all angles at all times of the day for just about every other scene. Was this movie directed by a high school student? This is certainly one of those late in the year Oscar baits that will never catch the fish. Expand
  8. Dec 7, 2013
    It may not be an easy pill to swallow at times, but with a subtly imposing performance from Bale, a dastardly venomous turn from Harrelson, a vast amount of pristine images from Cooper and Takayangi, and some understated musical stylings from Hinchcliffe and Vedder, "Out Of The Furnace" rises above its almost overwhelmingly bleak overtones.
  9. Feb 26, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Rout Rof Ra Rurnace. Sounding effectively like actors had wadded paper in the sides of their mouths. Creating inaudible sound FX, to sound ratios, when masculinely trying to Scobbie speak. Although after constantly turning the volume, I discovered Jersey was Kentucky. Not that it matters much. I gave up when excon el'vigilante is deputised swafficer. The deer pointlessly not hunting when out hunting, but then your friend goes ahead and kills it. The savagery that followed, skinning the carcass. Ending with run forest run needlessly, he is out a hunting now, but no heart shot.. Many other details had so many questions. Braddock has one sheriff in regular uniform. Among many others it was quite dry throughout despite of the star studded cast. Expand
  10. Dec 13, 2013
    Out of the Furnace is actually an incredible movie. I don't understand the somewhat weak ratings, it's one of my favorites of the year. Scott Cooper invokes incredible performances from absolutely everyone. Woody is amazing as Harlin, the psychotic hill-dwelling villian and Christian Bale shares an absolutely heartbreaking scene with Zoe Saldana. Casey Affleck stretches his acting capabilities here and it pays off excellently. All around great movie. Expand
  11. Dec 6, 2013
    This is the first of several hairpin turns Cooper takes, and like all the others that follow, it feels slightly gratuitous and more than a little soapy. It never works any realistic magic despite the rusty cars and Willem Dafoe's polyester suits but Out of the Furnace is still hugely entertaining thanks to the cast. The screaming standout is Harrelson, who leverages his hairlessness, crooked nose and ice-blue eyes into one of the eeriest villains since Dennis Hopper's mask-huffing sex offender in Blue Velvet. This movie chugs toward its final destination with quiet resolve. Yet for all the grand ambition to tell a modern story of two brothers steeped in ancient male codes, Out of the Furnace skids out on the oily streets of melodrama. Harrelson is the acid bath that cuts through all the slop and brings fresh edges to cliché. Expand
  12. Dec 8, 2013
    A compelling if derivative and predictable fable that seems like a cross between "The Deer Hunter" and "Deliverance." Whenever Woody Harrelson is on screen trepidation hangs like heavy mist in the air. The poster boy for incest. He is the best part of the movie. Who woulda thought Appalachia could exist in Jersey? Christian Bale continues his good work from "The Fighter" with a much more centered character, and welcome back Casey Affleck. Unfortunately the ending is a let down. I expected a manhunt and a mano a mano fight but instead we get a treatise on cold blooded euthanasia. There are holes galore but the steady pacing of the film gives it a tightness and seriousness that make most of them forgivable. Expand
  13. Lyn
    Jun 1, 2014
    I'm not sure Christian Bale, Casey Affleck or Woody Harrelson have every been any better than they are in this movie. All have the gritty feel of real people (although I've never personally met anyone as menacing as the character Harrelson plays). I can't rate it any higher because of the way the plot descends into pointlessness. Anyone who's really into the story deserves more of a payoff.
  14. Dec 17, 2013
    This movie had so much potential but ran out of gas. We had so many interesting story lines but we either never really explored them or we wrapped them up in the disappointing ending. It was almost as if the director felt like he had to end the movie quickly. Bale and Harrelson on the verge of a showdown and then it was over. Whitaker and Bale's tension never really developed or explored. So much could have been done here that I felt cheated at the end. Expand
  15. Dec 11, 2013
    Christian Bale is the hard-working, well-meaning brother in a Pennsylvania steel town. Casey Affleck is his eternal screw-up younger vet brother. When he gets into serious trouble with a meth maniac (Woody Harrelson), older bro is determined to exact revenge. Actors love films like this. They get to be grungy, severe and rough around the edges. This is one of those serious dramas with intense characters, forceful emotions and inevitable tragedy all around. Director Scott Cooper's camera offers some interesting observations and the strong performances keep the film compelling. It does go on relentlessly too long and persistently grave. Expand
  16. Dec 19, 2013
    this film was not very good. i like the actors and respect their abilities but this film left me wanting. The director was going for art house dramatic but ended up with long and drawn out. i'm my mind you cant draw out a movie that blunt because the fact is, its blunt and to the point.
  17. Jun 3, 2014
    Odd movie, excellent acting... boring and depressing as heck plot. About halfway into the movie, you check your watch.... not-a-good-sign. But I have to say, the actors (and there were some very good actors) knocked it out.
  18. Mar 6, 2014
    Solid acting by the star studded cast but the plot was sort of disappointing. The needlessly subplot with the lead character's ex, The long run time, and the lackluster ending are certainly disappointing. Overall, It wasn't a bad movie but it could have been a lot better.
  19. Dec 29, 2013
    Overall the movie is pretty slow going with an OK but not great story and an unsatisfying ending. Not really sure it could have been better though because the story really just wasn't that engaging and I simply couldn't connect to the characters.
  20. Dec 19, 2013
    Awesome acting from the entire cast, but the four main guys; Bale, Affleck, Harrellson, and Defoe, in particular. Scott Cooper did really well in the director's chair, but damn, a little slow for me and the plot, if you can call it that, left much to be desired. Easily my biggest disappointment of the year. It's not horrible, but damn, it's definitely middle of the road.
  21. Jan 3, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I will start by saying that this film is not getting the ratings that it deserves. Bale, Harrelson, and Affleck all delivered brilliant performances. This film is extremely dark and gritty and can be very disturbing to the viewer. With that said, critics need to grow up and realize that the content and realism of this film are what make is stand out so much.

    For instance, the very opening scene at the drive-in movie theater actually made me feel uncomfortable sitting there in the theater. Harrelson's character is abusing his companion and then starts a scene and absolutely beats a bystander to a pulp. It had me wondering what I was getting into by watching this film.

    In the end it is a tale of taking risks and consequences but capitalizes on vengeance and how far a person will go to make things right. Great film with some of the best performances of the year... such a shame that they are being overlooked.
  22. Dec 7, 2013
    In director Scott Cooper's "Out of the Furnace," characters clearly take precedence over plot while maintaining a subdued tone that highlights some fantastic performances. However, it's constrained by its meager, inescapable storyline of vengeance that ultimately disappoints. "Furnace" is a much darker and less audience-friendly package than Cooper's Oscar-winning 2009 debut "Crazy Horse." His second film captures the essence of an America slowly crumbling amid economic decay. Events unfold in "Out of the Furnace" with a violent, unpredictable force that life often presents, as opposed to your standard, reassuring screenplay.

    Filmed in the working-class eastern Pittsburgh neighborhood of Braddock, Pennsylvania, Russell Baze (Christian Bale) has followed in his terminally ill father's footsteps by making a living at the town's steel mill. After serving a four-year sentence for a manslaughter conviction, Russell attempts to put his life back together. He keeps a low profile, but must contend with his old girlfriend Lena (Zoe Saldana), who is now living with police chief Wesley Barnes (Forest Whitaker). His brother, Rodney Jr. (Casey Affleck), is an Iraq War vet with PTSD and gambling issues, who chooses to enter a backwoods fight club as a means of earning money. Rodney and a small-time promoter John Petty (Willem Dafoe) screw things up and are unable to pay a ruthless criminal named Curtis DeGroat (Woody Harrelson). Refusing to acknowledge the dangers that lie ahead, Rodney finds himself in grave danger with unforgiving men. Russell, who is trying to reorganize his life, now sets out to protect his younger sibling.

    When all is said and done, the movie boils down to a deceptively simple tale of two brothers coupled with a barebones tale of pure, unadulterated vigilantism. Though Cooper consistently uses formal parallelism to link the brothers' dual narratives, the last shot of the film may be its most telling, as it speaks to their constant, all-encompassing sense of imprisonment.

    Cooper maintains the threat of violence with a guarded presence of despair from the beginning, which can get difficult for some and is often heartbreaking to watch. Cooper isn't exactly breaking new ground here with "Furnace," and he has a tendency to lean on contrivances and misdirection in place of suspense at times. However, his command is admirable, and the performances of Bale, Affleck, and Harrelson unquestionably warrant high praise. For those who like their revenge served cold, "Out of the Furnace" is the very essence of performance.
  23. Feb 6, 2014
    From the edgy opening scene of Out of the Furnace you are hooked. Director Scott Hooper hones in on his fine cast, which is in fact one of the best ensembles in recent memory, and hypnotically draws us in to their hum drum and rather melancholic lives. Pennsylvania looks every bit as bleak as I remember it from 'The Deer Hunter' and this is perfectly captured in the stark cinematography. The camera's eye treats the steel mill and surrounding areas as if they are another character and you really do get a sense of the place and the unfulfilled lives of the people living there. At times the film's tone is extremely tense, a lot of which is due to the menacing performance of Woody Harrelson who looks as if he has just stepped out of 'The Hills Have Eyes'. Christian Bale, in a rare understated but none the less brilliant turn, is even better here than he is n his Oscar nominated role in 'American Hustle'. Casey Affleck and Willem Defoe also impress and one has to applaud Sam Shepard, who seems to have an uncanny knack for being only minimally involved in really good films. The music is surprisingly beautiful given the content, which is at times extremely violent, and the film holds you in a vice like grip from beginning to end. Ironically, it is only the overt symbolism attached to the deer hunt and bare knuckle fight scenes that can be slightly criticised but, in truth, to do so would be pernickety as this is a truly outstanding film. Expand
  24. Mar 18, 2014
    I think Christian Bale's presence made all the difference in the movie. Everyone says Ben Affleck is the worst actor ever, but he's okay to me. His brother Casey is the most annoying actor I have ever seen. No offense, but I hate everything from him, talking to acting exasperates me. Though he had a very nice role in here, but did not last long.

    Not to forget to mention Woody Harrelson.
    A story like this requires a powerful negative character so he filled that spot with a stunning performance. I can say Bale had a prominent role, but Casey and Harrelson, who made this movie happen. Without those two characters, Bale would have been useless. So the combination of these trio were the movie's main focus. Saldana was not required, she appears only for a few minutes, in one of a scene it was strong which came very handy.

    It is the story of two brothers. It was depicted with the backdrop of a small town's poor economy where most of the men are out of the jobs. They have to create opportunity by themselves if not escaping from there is the solution. It is not a story with moralities, but about the love, pain and ultimately a revenge. Convincing story for interconnecting characters with intense scenes everywhere. It slows in many parts without musics. It may not be your perfect movie, but offers realism.

  25. Sep 3, 2014
    I thought this movie was awesome. Great acting, solid story, good camerawork, and a gritty aesthetic combine to make this an immersive and compelling revenge tale. It's a violent and realistic drama with believable and sympathetic characters. My only major complaint is that close to the end it tries... I'm not going to spoil anything, so I'll word this very carefully. It gives you an ending you'd want in a way that's not really satisfying. Don't know if that makes a lot of sense but that's how it felt to me. I also wish there were more scenes of Christian Belle hunting down the bad guys in the mountains. For the most part though it's a really good movie. If the competition wasn't so ridiculously tough and packed last year, I'm sure it would have gotten an acting Oscar nod (nomination) or two. But I really have to find some poor quality movies soon, or I'll look like I praise everything. Guess it's my fault for being so picky on which movies to watch. Expand
  26. Mar 25, 2014
    Really enjoyed this film! I feel like a little more could have been done with the ending but that doesn't take away from everything else that makes this movie so great! It has a dark and interesting story and truly features some of the best performances of the year!
  27. Dec 6, 2013
    While the movie suffers from its deep depression tone, it still contains an interesting enough story that is given off by stellar performance and gritty execution. Overall, it's a dark-toned movie that delivers from its originally predicted cliché that some suspected it to be. I give it a B+.
  28. Apr 2, 2014
    loved every second of this movie! a great ensemble cast. Each cast member played their roles perfectly, esp. Casey Affleck his characters back story was deep and emotional. also the chemistry between Zoe's character and Bale's character so tense and dense, Bale's crying job almost made me cry... All in All a very well made movie! Also props go to cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi (known for Silver Linings Playbook and The Grey)!!! Expand
  29. Dec 18, 2013
    A solid drama with great acting and average scenario! Movie is predictable and depressing, which in this case isn't really a weakness! Nothing special about it!
  30. Dec 27, 2013
    OUT OF THE FURNACE is really perplexing. The film is pitch perfect in every way and yet, it has no resonance. When it's over it leaves you with a big feeling of just "Meh." Maybe it's too perfect for its own good.
  31. Dec 8, 2013
    I absolutely loved this movie. Of course the acting was fantastic, everyone will say that. However, a lot of people had a problem with the plot, saying it was boring, typical, etc. I was engaged completely throughout. Maybe it was mainly because of the performances, but I could watch this movie over and over again.
  32. Dec 10, 2013
    The film boasts an undeniably talented cast. Unfortunately, they cannot save the film's uneven pace. The first half of this film started out pretty promising. However, once it reaches the second half, it quickly begins to heavily drag. Christian Bale and Casey Affleck worked great as brothers. Woody Harrelson manages to pull off yet another S.O.B. performance. Other supporting cast members that, in my opinion, deserved much more screen time were Forest Whitaker and Willem Dafoe. The film also had a really good story going for it, but the slow pace of the film kind of made it hard to enjoy, especially in the final ten minutes or so, which was dragged out for far too long. So overall, great performances and story, but you're definitely gonna need some patience for it. Collapse
  33. Dec 8, 2013
    The movie is not about the pale background at all its about the morale story and precision acting in this movie they deserve certain recognition for this movie a perfect synchronization between actors perfect place perfect timing but slow pace.
  34. Dec 26, 2013
    This is a good one. Lots of stars acting unusual. A film that gives a social perspective of contemporary American society (in periphery States, where no decisions are made) through the prism of vengeance. One that lets you think you always have a choice, when you do not have such. Iraq is there again. Veterans too... The sound of inevitability...
    Camera crew have really worked their
    asses off! Sunsets, sunrises, close shots, brick jails and pine trees. Soundtrack is sooo pleasant! Makes you feel home.
    This is a hell of a good vent! Safety-valve when needed.
  35. Mar 14, 2014
    Good cinematography, good acting, good everything... except story and characters. It all had so much potential, but they did absolutely nothing with it and, in the end, it all just feels like a pointless waste of time.
  36. Apr 17, 2014
    This is one of the best movies made in recent years. Woody Harralson's performance is blood-chilling and incredibly convincing in his visceral brutality and attitude. Bale's performance is excellent also, and this movie is much better than the other one he did this year though it did not receive nearly as much attention. I was especially surprised by Bale's excellence - while Harralson has played some real jerks in other movies, this kind of character seemed unlike any of the characters Bale has played before (the closest comparison might be his character in The Machinist, but mostly only because of the setting the characters find themselves in as blue-collar workers).

    One reason this movie didn't get more attention is because it's a gritty drama that's not full of action sequences and explosions. If people had better tastes in movies, this would have been a blockbuster.
  37. May 8, 2014
    This is movie is no disappointment for fans of Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Casey Affleck, Willem Defoe, and Forrest Whitaker. I am not a movie goer, never mind television, but this movie is downright captivating. A true to life portrayal of life in the New Jersey backwoods of Ramapo...Hats off to all involved in this project and thank you for making a film that's as powerful as it is meaningful; touching on the subjects of drug addiction, family, military service and PTSD, the proletariat of America and human relationships. Well done! Expand
  38. May 13, 2014
    Excellent movie! I thought all of the actors did a great job. The movie seemed real to life and I thought the actors did a superb job of making you believe the story. I can't believe the movie hasn't received better reviews. Every character touched me in a different way. I have little brothers and I have to say I think the story rang true to show the love of family. Definitely a movie I will recommend to others. Expand
  39. jga
    May 22, 2014
    A reason to watch this film is Christian Bale. Just when you thought that this guy could not get any better, you are proven wrong. His moment with Zoe Saldana was just heartbreaking, it was silent but deep. It may not have the greatest script, but it was saved by great performances from its cast. Nobody came out as a miscast. If one is tired of big Hollywood type of films, watch this! it is a brilliant reprieve, the performances alone is worth it. Its tone is dark, gritty and real. And even after its through, you think about it still. Expand
  40. Jul 12, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This movie is about the effects of trauma, loss and addiction on two Brothers: one who is an alcoholic and the other who needs Gamblers Anonymous. Add to this their upbringing in a place of hopelessness and blight - the steel mill town of Braddock PA. Both Brothers worked in the Mill as did their Father and Paternal Uncle. Christian is ok with this life and Casey is not. The former is jailed for DUI associated manslaughter and the other soldiers in the middle east; one is violently abused by inmates and the other by war associated atrocities. After the death of their Father - and their release from their incarcerations - Christian returns to the mill and Casey is beset with post traumatic stress disorder. Christian has lost his long time girl friend to the town cop. Casey uses the "fight club" ring to release violent tendencies where his role is to take "dives" in order to raise money to pay off his gambling debts. Sometimes he cannot dive because his rage is so great and his shady financial backer looses a lot of money. Casey decides he wants a shot at the "Appalachian" boys on the fight club circuit: inbred folk tied into drugs, violence, and murder. He is warned against this by his financial backer/mentor but is unrelenting. He is beaten nearly to death in the mountains of New Jersey after he takes a dive. On the way home, Casey and his Mentor are both shot and killed by the inbreeds. Police in both PA and NJ are so fearful of this gang of yea - whose they are unsuccessful in bringing them to Justice. Christian takes matters into his own hands. He obtains the phone number of the boss of the Appalachian club, calls him, and lures him to Braddock with the promise of money. In short, Christian skills fully stalks this man and kills him with his 30 ought rifle. Expand
  41. Jul 29, 2014
    If you can't fall asleep that's the movie you need to see! Contrary to the name "Out Of Furnace" where one would expect 100% adrenaline action, this movie is just the contrary! Sooooo boring...
  42. Oct 1, 2014
    Just saw this movie and was blown away. Woody Harrelson gives his best performance. Casey Affleck and Christian Bale also deliver brilliant performances. It's a steller movie with an odd ending. The story is great but it feels like the ending was rushed and therefor kind of left me wanting to know whats next.
  43. Sep 19, 2014
    simply a great movie. well shot. deep characters. well acted. cruel. a movie that will stay with for a while. Both Bale and Affleck act great. deserves more than what critics reviews say.
  44. Nov 13, 2014
    "Out of the Furnace" 10 Scale Rating: 5.5 (Decent) ...

    The Good: The cast is exceptional and delivered. Casey Affleck and Willem Dafoe were especially great in supporting roles. The film has excellent buildup and halfway through, you can't wait to see how it ends. For the most part, a well directed and gritty offering that captures the rural tone quite well.

    The Bad: The second half
    just can't keep the film's fast start as it slows down a great deal and becomes far less interesting. The ending was also very underwhelming and the last 30 minutes or so are extremely straightforward. The endgame just sort of ... happens. Very little payoff despite a great setup. Expand

Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 40
  2. Negative: 1 out of 40
  1. Reviewed by: Emma Dibdin
    Jan 29, 2014
    Christian Bale’s earnest, emotional turn sustains a thriller that throws a few mean jabs but staggers towards a punch-drunk resolution.
  2. Reviewed by: Cath Clarke
    Jan 28, 2014
    Bale is as good as it gets, Harrelson shows us why he is Hollywood’s favourite psycho and Willem Dafoe is terrific as a sleazy drug dealer. The rest of the film is without a bat squeak of authenticity.
  3. Reviewed by: Kim Newman
    Jan 27, 2014
    A quality production, with awards-bid performances from Bale and Affleck to prove it... but, as signalled by the curiously unmemorable title, it flounders while trying to come up with a story to embody the things it wants to say about the sorry state of modern America. Worth seeing, but a near-miss.