Critics Consensus: Out of the Furnace is Tough but Uneven

Plus, Inside Llewyn Davis is Certified Fresh.

This week at the movies, we've got just one wide release: Out of the Furnace, a blue-collar crime thriller starring Christian Bale and Woody Harrelson. What do the critics have to say?

Out of the Furnace

52%

Gritty, moody, and populated by a cast of A-listers, Out of the Furnace promises a higher class of pulp than your average vengeance thriller. But critics say that while the actors imbue their characters with heft, they're stuck with an uneven script that serves up many fine moments but fails to fully cohere. Bale stars as Russell, a steel worker whose brother Rodney (Casey Affleck) has just come home from Iraq. But when Rodney disappears after falling in with a local criminal organization, Russell goes looking for him -- a search that leads him to Harlan (Woody Harrelson), the gang's brutal ringleader. The pundits say that Out of the Furnace is raw and atmospheric, but it's inconsistently paced and occasionally melodramatic. (Check out this week's Total Recall, in which we count down Bale's best-reviewed films.)

Also opening this week in limited release:

Comments

Tino Pecchia

Tino Pecchia

Other than the new Coen Brothers, this is the "who cares and release the hobbit already" weekend.

Dec 5 - 05:09 PM

Vincent

Fox Cutler Mulder

The Hobbit was a terrible film. It dragged on forever. Nothing actually important happened in the first 30 minutes. I can withstand talking, but this didn't advance the plot at all. The dwarves were severely underdeveloped and one-dimensional. Also, I wasn't a fan of the cartoony CG. I'm not really interested in the Hobbit 2.

Dec 5 - 06:48 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

I think that just Smaug himself warrants a viewing for Hobbit 2

Dec 5 - 08:05 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

The Smaug design is incredibly underwhelming, and the dialogue shown in the trailers from him was nothing special, either. For such an iconic and beloved character, I wanted a lot more than a stereotypical boomy voice and such a generic design for him. I always imagined him to sound much more devious and conniving as opposed to a booming brute. I could not even tell Cumberbatch did the voice work because there was so much post production nonsense put on it. What is the point in hiring a great actor to do voice work if you are going to drown it out with effects?

Dec 6 - 10:10 AM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

I agree with King Krunk on the Smaug's voice. Couldn't they have over layers anyones voice with all those over the top sound effects? It's annoying because Cummberbatch has a great voice> I think the design is cool but I also really like Dragons. It's nothing like Smaug is written HOWEVER neither is the Balrog, and that was pretty Bad Ass too.

Dec 6 - 12:45 PM

quietus28

jj l

Much of this commentary could also apply to Fellowship of the Rings, except you could say nothing important happens for the first hour. I do agree the CGI went over-board, as well as the selling out to the 3D crowd and the kiddies.

Dec 7 - 04:05 PM

King  S.

King Simba

disagree, Fellowship jumped into the plot a lot quicker than Hobbit with there being a short birthday party and then right after that Gandalf discovering that the ring Bilbo had was the One Ring. Much of the first half of the book was cut (such as all the planning and years of waiting Frodo did before finally leaving), unlike The Hobbit where the introductions were kept in their entirety, which while it may work in the book really hurt the pace of the movie.

I actually didn't mind the kiddie tone though, as The Hobbit was always meant to be a lighter story than Lord of the Rings.

Dec 8 - 12:52 AM

Dave J

Dave J

It looks like much of the movies from last week are going to continue to remain on top once again! "Catching Fire" number 1 spot, "Frozen" number 2 spot, and so forth...

Dec 5 - 05:10 PM

Marcellus E.

Marcellus Esquerra

I think Frozen will take 1st this weekend.

Dec 5 - 07:34 PM

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Hard to say; it'd be really bizarre for a Disney animated film to not take the top spot for at least one weekend, but "Catching Fire" is (please forgive me) on fire at the moment, and could definitely take #1 again, unless "Frozen" gets really good word-of-mouth and manages to overtake it. If not, its chances of taking the box-office crown are pretty slim with "The Hobbit" being the obvious winner next weekend (and almost certainly the week after that, unless "Anchorman 2" pulls a hat trick).

Dec 5 - 10:34 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Out of the Furnace and Inside Llewyn Davis for me this weekend. Can't wait for both. Also, I have to check out Caught in the Web from the great Chen Kaige, and apparently all of the positive reviews of this film haven't been registered here yet: Variety, Hollywood Reporter, Screen Daily and Film Business Asia have all praised the film, and there were other good reviews from festivals.

And LOL @ Last Days on Mars director being credited as a co-director on the classic anime Akira. Exactly how easy is it for outsiders to edit this site to spout such BS?

Dec 5 - 05:15 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Dammit! Have to wait on Llewyn Davis, which is only playing at four theaters nationwide. With the number of TV ads, I thought it would at least reach 100 screens.

If I could make a modest request, could Mr. Ryan or RT add a note as to the number of limited screens for each film. I know you can find this on BoxOfficeMojo, but it's just a detail that could be helpful.

Dec 6 - 06:11 PM

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Well, I would consider seeing "Llewyn Davis" just from the high rating, IF it was in wide release; unfortunately it's not playing at my local theater.

Finally going to give "Frozen" a shot this weekend; I've bounced back and forth between being excited for it and being nervous about it disappointing while reading all the varying responses to it, so I think I'll just check it out so I can have my own take on it. If nothing else, it should be a fun way to finish off the week (especially after my grueling Calculus exam prep this week).

In regards to next week, I still haven't gotten into "Lord of the Rings", so I'm not too interested in "The Hobbit" (pretty sad that I'm more interested in a Disney Princess film than an epic fantasy adventure, huh?). I'll have to give "Fellowship of the Ring" another try to see if I can get myself hooked.

Dec 5 - 05:36 PM

Bradley J.

Bradley J

Frozen was great!

Dec 5 - 08:10 PM

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Andrew Brinkerhoff

I've heard that from a number of people; I've also heard a number of people say it's "good, not great", a number say it was "disappointing", and a few say it sucked. I don't remember the last time I saw a film with an 88% rating have this many wildly-varying responses; I won't go into it with super-high expectations, not looking for "The Lion King" or even "Aladdin", just an enjoyable and emotionally-satisfying time.

Dec 6 - 10:42 AM

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Just got home from seeing it; not quite a classic, the midsection dragged a little and the characters were a bit underdeveloped (the villain kind of came out of nowhere, I thought), but it was very lively and sweet on the whole.

Dec 6 - 04:37 PM

Vits

Vicente Torres

Do I go to see a Coen brothers movie, or a movie that's said to be inspired by them (SWERVE)? What a dilemma, right? Of course I'm picking LLEWYN DAVIS.

I found CRAZY HEART to be good but overrated. So now its director follows it with a movie of a different genre. So I was waiting until the reviews to decide on OUT OF THE FURNACE. It's mixed, so I'm still confused!

How is it that the movie with the most interesting premise is also the one with the worst rating?

Dec 5 - 06:06 PM

Vincent

Fox Cutler Mulder

Maybe because it also sucks.

Dec 5 - 06:49 PM

Khalef Ben Abdesselam

Khalef Ben Abdesselam

this movies is gooooooooooood

Dec 5 - 06:15 PM

Vincent

Fox Cutler Mulder

The Hobbit was a terrible film. It dragged on forever. Nothing actually important happened in the first 30 minutes. I can withstand talking, but this didn't advance the plot at all. The dwarves were severely underdeveloped and one-dimensional. Also, I wasn't a fan of the cartoony CG. I'm not really interested in the Hobbit 2.

Dec 5 - 06:48 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

I think that just Smaug himself warrants a viewing for Hobbit 2

Dec 5 - 08:05 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

The Smaug design is incredibly underwhelming, and the dialogue shown in the trailers from him was nothing special, either. For such an iconic and beloved character, I wanted a lot more than a stereotypical boomy voice and such a generic design for him. I always imagined him to sound much more devious and conniving as opposed to a booming brute. I could not even tell Cumberbatch did the voice work because there was so much post production nonsense put on it. What is the point in hiring a great actor to do voice work if you are going to drown it out with effects?

Dec 6 - 10:10 AM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

I agree with King Krunk on the Smaug's voice. Couldn't they have over layers anyones voice with all those over the top sound effects? It's annoying because Cummberbatch has a great voice> I think the design is cool but I also really like Dragons. It's nothing like Smaug is written HOWEVER neither is the Balrog, and that was pretty Bad Ass too.

Dec 6 - 12:45 PM

quietus28

jj l

Much of this commentary could also apply to Fellowship of the Rings, except you could say nothing important happens for the first hour. I do agree the CGI went over-board, as well as the selling out to the 3D crowd and the kiddies.

Dec 7 - 04:05 PM

King  S.

King Simba

disagree, Fellowship jumped into the plot a lot quicker than Hobbit with there being a short birthday party and then right after that Gandalf discovering that the ring Bilbo had was the One Ring. Much of the first half of the book was cut (such as all the planning and years of waiting Frodo did before finally leaving), unlike The Hobbit where the introductions were kept in their entirety, which while it may work in the book really hurt the pace of the movie.

I actually didn't mind the kiddie tone though, as The Hobbit was always meant to be a lighter story than Lord of the Rings.

Dec 8 - 12:52 AM

Vincent

Fox Cutler Mulder

Maybe because it also sucks.

Dec 5 - 06:49 PM

Marcellus E.

Marcellus Esquerra

I think Frozen will take 1st this weekend.

Dec 5 - 07:34 PM

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Hard to say; it'd be really bizarre for a Disney animated film to not take the top spot for at least one weekend, but "Catching Fire" is (please forgive me) on fire at the moment, and could definitely take #1 again, unless "Frozen" gets really good word-of-mouth and manages to overtake it. If not, its chances of taking the box-office crown are pretty slim with "The Hobbit" being the obvious winner next weekend (and almost certainly the week after that, unless "Anchorman 2" pulls a hat trick).

Dec 5 - 10:34 PM

Typhon

Typhon Q

I think that just Smaug himself warrants a viewing for Hobbit 2

Dec 5 - 08:05 PM

King Crunk

King Crunk

The Smaug design is incredibly underwhelming, and the dialogue shown in the trailers from him was nothing special, either. For such an iconic and beloved character, I wanted a lot more than a stereotypical boomy voice and such a generic design for him. I always imagined him to sound much more devious and conniving as opposed to a booming brute. I could not even tell Cumberbatch did the voice work because there was so much post production nonsense put on it. What is the point in hiring a great actor to do voice work if you are going to drown it out with effects?

Dec 6 - 10:10 AM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

I agree with King Krunk on the Smaug's voice. Couldn't they have over layers anyones voice with all those over the top sound effects? It's annoying because Cummberbatch has a great voice> I think the design is cool but I also really like Dragons. It's nothing like Smaug is written HOWEVER neither is the Balrog, and that was pretty Bad Ass too.

Dec 6 - 12:45 PM

Bradley J.

Bradley J

Frozen was great!

Dec 5 - 08:10 PM

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Andrew Brinkerhoff

I've heard that from a number of people; I've also heard a number of people say it's "good, not great", a number say it was "disappointing", and a few say it sucked. I don't remember the last time I saw a film with an 88% rating have this many wildly-varying responses; I won't go into it with super-high expectations, not looking for "The Lion King" or even "Aladdin", just an enjoyable and emotionally-satisfying time.

Dec 6 - 10:42 AM

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Just got home from seeing it; not quite a classic, the midsection dragged a little and the characters were a bit underdeveloped (the villain kind of came out of nowhere, I thought), but it was very lively and sweet on the whole.

Dec 6 - 04:37 PM

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Hard to say; it'd be really bizarre for a Disney animated film to not take the top spot for at least one weekend, but "Catching Fire" is (please forgive me) on fire at the moment, and could definitely take #1 again, unless "Frozen" gets really good word-of-mouth and manages to overtake it. If not, its chances of taking the box-office crown are pretty slim with "The Hobbit" being the obvious winner next weekend (and almost certainly the week after that, unless "Anchorman 2" pulls a hat trick).

Dec 5 - 10:34 PM

Willem DaPerson

Willem DaPerson

Out of the furnace sounds interesting, but obviously the Coens are the top pick for those with access.

Dec 6 - 07:27 AM

King Crunk

King Crunk

The Smaug design is incredibly underwhelming, and the dialogue shown in the trailers from him was nothing special, either. For such an iconic and beloved character, I wanted a lot more than a stereotypical boomy voice and such a generic design for him. I always imagined him to sound much more devious and conniving as opposed to a booming brute. I could not even tell Cumberbatch did the voice work because there was so much post production nonsense put on it. What is the point in hiring a great actor to do voice work if you are going to drown it out with effects?

Dec 6 - 10:10 AM

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Andrew Brinkerhoff

I've heard that from a number of people; I've also heard a number of people say it's "good, not great", a number say it was "disappointing", and a few say it sucked. I don't remember the last time I saw a film with an 88% rating have this many wildly-varying responses; I won't go into it with super-high expectations, not looking for "The Lion King" or even "Aladdin", just an enjoyable and emotionally-satisfying time.

Dec 6 - 10:42 AM

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Just got home from seeing it; not quite a classic, the midsection dragged a little and the characters were a bit underdeveloped (the villain kind of came out of nowhere, I thought), but it was very lively and sweet on the whole.

Dec 6 - 04:37 PM

Marc Cerone

Marc "Cerone" Chaudry

I'll be seeing Out of the Furnace anyway, a lot of these criticisms sound irrelevant. I enjoy these kinds of films because of the cast and the setting.

Dec 6 - 11:09 AM

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

I agree with King Krunk on the Smaug's voice. Couldn't they have over layers anyones voice with all those over the top sound effects? It's annoying because Cummberbatch has a great voice> I think the design is cool but I also really like Dragons. It's nothing like Smaug is written HOWEVER neither is the Balrog, and that was pretty Bad Ass too.

Dec 6 - 12:45 PM

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Andrew Brinkerhoff

Just got home from seeing it; not quite a classic, the midsection dragged a little and the characters were a bit underdeveloped (the villain kind of came out of nowhere, I thought), but it was very lively and sweet on the whole.

Dec 6 - 04:37 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Dammit! Have to wait on Llewyn Davis, which is only playing at four theaters nationwide. With the number of TV ads, I thought it would at least reach 100 screens.

If I could make a modest request, could Mr. Ryan or RT add a note as to the number of limited screens for each film. I know you can find this on BoxOfficeMojo, but it's just a detail that could be helpful.

Dec 6 - 06:11 PM

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