Out of the Furnace (Blu-ray) (2013)
Trailer-The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete
Featurette-Behind The Scenes with Scott Cooper
Featurette-Making Of-Crafting the Fight Scenes
Featurette-Making Of-The Music of Out Of The Furnace
Main Menu Audio & Animation
|Year Of Production||2013|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Scott Cooper|
Red Granite Pictures
Roadshow Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (4608Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.40:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
“Sometimes your battles choose you”
When you have a film with Christian Bale and Woody Harrelson topping the cast list you know there’ll be something of substance on show. Russell Baze (Christian Bale) is a steel mill worker in the Pennsylvania factory where his now dying dad used to work. He is proud of having a decent blue-collar job after a chequered past, and is anticipating a happy life with his girlfriend, Lena (Zoë Saldana). Younger brother Rodney (Casey Affleck) has been mentally wounded from combat in Iraq, wasting his money on gambling with no interest in working like his brother. Rodney owes money to local businessman John Petty (Willem Dafoe), who in turn owes money to vicious thug Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson), who runs a redneck empire off the Appalachian Trail. Apart from gambling on horses Rodney has been appearing in staged fights in which Petty has a stake, but fails to “take the fall” when instructed thereby losing Petty even more money. Russell and Harlan cross paths briefly in Petty’s office when Russell arrives to pay off some of Rodney’s debt. Russell realises that Petty is being stood over and interrupts much to Harlan’s annoyance. It is clear that the two will cross paths again.
Due to a car accident at night where a kid is killed Russell is jailed for man-slaughter, presumably because he was driving when over the alcohol limit. Whilst in jail Russell’s life falls further apart as his father dies, his girlfriend marries the local cop Wesley (Forest Whitaker), the steel mill is closing down, and it becomes clear that Rodney is going further off the rails. In a final attempt to clear his debts with Harlan, Petty convinces Rodney to participate in a staged fight at Harlan’s backwoods fight game. Needless to say things don’t go to plan, but the local cops don’t seem able or willing to follow up on events. Upon release from jail it is up to Russell to find justice and settle the score.
What could have been a standard revenge based thriller is lifted to a higher level by the performances of Bale, Affleck and Harrelson. Harrelson was born to play psychopathic rednecks, and just oozes menace. The harrowing opening scenes in the drive-in make it clear how this man’s mind works. Director Scott Cooper successfully captures the dirt and grit of a factory based city with images that could have been lifted directly from a Bruce Springsteen song-book. Life here is hard and a violent underbelly is never far from bubbling to the surface. Far from being a hero Russell is a product of his surroundings - falling, but finding redemption, and falling again. Presumably there is some background behind his jailing after the car accident which perhaps relates to a criminal past, but in my opinion it is insufficiently explained. The closing scene leaves a number of questions unanswered and a symbolism lifted directly from The Godfather Part II. Russell is in reality a prisoner of his circumstances, and a reflection of the emptiness and decline of industrial small-town America.
Video is presented in the theatrical aspect of 2.40:1 and in 1080p. This is a dark and gritty film with little colour to speak of. The skies are grey, the shadows are oppressing, and the palette is decidedly sombre. That being said this presentation is easy to see with enough shadow detail to ensure nothing is lost in the gloom. Close-ups showed good facial detail and accurate skin colour. Grain was quite evident but not in a way that detracted from the film. The outdoor hunting scenes were nicely framed and very reminiscent of The Deerhunter in content, symbolism, and presentation. There were no significant film or video artefacts to speak of.
The default audio is 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio at around 4500 Kb/s with a Dolby Digital 2.0 English descriptive narrative for the vision impaired at 224 Kb/s. The surround channels are not used extensively with a very much forward focused soundscape. This is to be expected with a dialogue rich movie and so was in keeping with expectations. There are peripheral noises but nothing overt to attract your attention. The LFE track was used extensively to enhance the sombre mood without being overbearing. The fight scenes made good use of effects and were particularly realistic. Dialogue was in synch and mostly clear although the accents from Harrelson in particular were thick and often mumbled. Backing score by Dickon Hinchliffe was suitably sombre and complemented the on screen action well.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu featured looping audio with animated background.
Appearing before the main menu are Transcendence (1:32) - HD Video, DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 at around 1100, Draft Day (2:24) - HD Video, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 at around 3000 and The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete (2:25) - HD Video, DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 at around 1100.
HD video and DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 at around 1000 Kbps. Sam Shepard, Casey Affleck, Zoe Saldana, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, and Christian Bale briefly describe the inspirations behind becoming an actor.
HD video and DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 at around 1000 Kbps. Cooper describes the inspiration behind the screen play with its portrayal of violence and the grittier side of Americana. Includes comments from actors Saldana, Harrelson, Bale, Shepard, and Affleck as well as executive producer Jeff Waxman.
HD video and DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 at around 1000 Kbps. Stunt Coordinator Ben Bray describes how the fight sequences were staged to highlight the visceral nature of a fight for survival. Comments from Cooper, Affleck, and Harrelson.
HD video and DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 at around 1000 Kbps. Composer Dickon Hinchliffe, director Scott Cooper and music supervisor Bob Bowen discuss the inspirations behind the music score and how they chose the style and melody to complement the plot and characters.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region A release appears identical apart from language options.
I really liked Out Of The Furnace and the performances of Bale and Harrelson reaffirmed my faith in their abilities. This is not a fun movie by any means with a dark mood and equally dark symbolism. I really hope small-town industrial America is not as depicted here – but somehow I fear it just might be.
The video quality is very good.
The audio quality is very good.
Extras are good but I would have liked a director’s commentary.
|DVD||Cambridge Audio 751bd, using HDMI output|
|Display||Panasonic TH-58PZ850A. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL).|
|Amplification||denon AVR-4311 pre-out to Elektra Theatron 7 channel amp|
|Speakers||B&W LCR600 centre and 603s3 mains, Niles in ceiling surrounds, SVS PC-Ultra Sub, Definitive Technology Supercube II Sub|