Directed by Scott Cooper, Written by Brad Ingelsby and Scott Cooper
Starring: Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, Forest Whitaker and Willem Dafoe
A simple but compelling revenge plot, you know what is coming, but the characters and acting make for a stellar flick.
Casey Affleck did a lot of research into the mental state of US troops who have served multiple tours of duty, and it shows; his state of mind and sudden impulsive, explosive behaviour makes for a convincing character. Christian Bale, the straight, hard-working brother, isn’t hiding behind an absurd comb-over this time round, and that combined with an apparent 33 day shooting schedule brings out a dirty, raw performance that makes his job in American Hustle seem lackadaisical at best.
Willem Dafoe is always good, and he did a solid job as the morally on-the-fence crime boss, as Casey’s character descends further into murky waters. He wants the best for him, but his greed is more powerful.
Unfortunately though, Woody Harrelson turns in a thoroughly unconvincing performance; I say this because, compared to his ‘Mickey’ from ‘Natural Born Killers’, the embodiment of evil and a legitimately scary performance, Woody doesn’t seem to be trying very hard for a supposed meth-addicted psychopath. Although, throughout the movie, his character is talked about more often than he is on screen, perhaps suggesting something unspoken about his character. Or perhaps some scenes were left on the editing room floor. Either way, his appearence in the film is wasted, as is the case with a lot of films Woody has appeared in recently.
The county of Braddock is brilliantly shot, almost giving a feeling of Pripyat and Chernobyl: no colour variation, just a lot of rusty reds replacing the sea of grey that makes up Pripyat. A visual metaphor for the sinking US economy and, in general, Western local industry? I’d say yes, given what the mill signifies, in vastly different ways, to each character in the film.
This is one of those movies you want to watch again, at least once, as the characters and their situations stick in your head. Early in the film, there is one particular scene in which Casey’s character suddenly erupts into graphic descriptions of the many casualties of war that he has seen with his own eyes. A definite comment on the complete lack of care for soldiers who are lied to, sent to war, and suffer eternally for it; the government not concerned at all. Who could blame the man for being angry and losing control of his life? After all, war is Hell.
3.5 – Highly recommended, just don’t expect a unique plot. This is a character-driven story and it excells in creating multiple fascinating characters.
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I liked this movie – 3.5 is about right for me, too. Casey Affleck has quietly become one of the best in the business. And it amazes me just how many different character types the great Willem can magnificently perform. Seems he’s in just about everything but he never feels overplayed. Frikkin’ chameleon, he is. Probably my favorite role of his is as Smecker in Boondock Saints. Genius.
Dude, I just got to say – way off topic – but you have the best tagline out there: I LOVE TO WRITE. LET’S GO DANCING… Cracks me up every time. And not only because it is so joltingly funny, but also because it is so very real. It’s life summed up in a tagline.
Come to think of it, I wonder if you’d be interested in contributing something to my Relating to Humans feature. After you did, I’d love to use it as a springboard to do a profile on you and your site. Or maybe a guest post. This is an awesome site and I’d like to let folks who follow my blog know about it.
Wow, thanks so much for the kind words! Much appreciated! 🙂
I’d love to contribute anything to your site mate! Yours is more varied than mine – I never know what I’m gonna see or read when I visit. I haven’t seen the feature you speak of tho, I’ll go check it out now. I’d love to guest post too, that would be really cool. Shoot us an email if you want, it is on the ‘about me’ page.
Again, thank you so much for the kind words, they mean a lot. Peace brother 🙂
To be honest, this one didn’t thrill me. The plot was too thin and it felt focused on the wrong brother. Casey Affleck’s character was so much more interesting, but we’re subjected to the rather boring guy played by Bale. Don’t get me wrong, both actors were phenomenal, but the material they had to work with was severely lacking. That said, you explained your viewpoints very well making this a joy to read. Nice work.
I can’t disagree with you there. And you make a good point about focusing on the wrong brother, though I do feel Bale’s situation was just as interesting but more subtle. It really would have been cool to explore Affleck’s character more, I never thought about it that way.
Thanks for the kind words and thanks for reading mate 😉
Woody was my reason for enjoying this movie. I’m not saying that I had a woody (although Zoe is quite cute), but I am referring to good old Woody Harrelson. I can’t agree with his performance being wasted. Sure, he didn’t have a lot of time onscreen. However, he still is and always will be the one thing about this movie that I remember haha.
I do agree with your score though:)
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I think I am just a little too obsessed with Natural Born Killers!! I did enjoy Woody in GotG, which I finally got around to watching. He was one of the very few things I liked about it if I’m honest
Guardians of the Galaxy?
haha I only just watched it, I thought the blue guy was Woody. Ding!! Hahaha man that makeup/FX makes it impossible to know who anyone is, I didn’t see Del Toro in it at all!!
“Casey Affleck did a lot of research into the mental state of US troops who have served multiple tours of duty, and it shows; his state of mind and sudden impulsive, explosive behaviour makes for a convincing character. Christian Bale, the straight, hard-working brother, isn’t hiding behind an absurd comb-over this time round, and that combined with an apparent 33 day shooting schedule brings out a dirty, raw performance that makes his job in American Hustle seem lackadaisical at best.” — extremely strong description of what I thought this movie did well man. Bravo on this paragraph dude, I haven’t seen it explained this well really anywhere else.
I will also have to agree with Thy Critic Man though and disagree about woody Harrelson’s usage in Out of the Furnace. I thought he did wonders, and was a totally nasty sumbitch who deserved what ws coming to him. He truly struck me in this role. Harrelson can really play anyone, good or bad.
Ace review Jordan
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I’ll have to watch it again, though I think I’m am holding him to his performance in NBK 20 years ago, which isn’t really fair haha
thanks for the kind words mate 🙂