Out of the Furnace (2013)

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Released 27-Jun-2014

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Crime Drama Theatrical Trailer-Transcendence (1:29) : 2.35:1 and 16x9.
Theatrical Trailer-Draft Day (2:20) : 2.35:1 and 16x9.
Theatrical Trailer-The Inevitable Defeat of Mister & Pete (2:20) : 2.35:1/16x9
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 111:39
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (56:20) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Scott Cooper
Studio
Distributor
Red Granite Pictures
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Christian Bale
Casey Affleck
Woody Harrelson
Willem Dafoe
Zoe Saldana
Forest Whitaker
Sam Shepard
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Dickon Hinchliffe


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     It is a shame when a good, solid drama gets lost in the razzamatazz and promotional hype that is the reality of today's box office. Such a film is Out of the Furnace, a gripping emotional drama that today would be marketed as a "thriller", just another film tagged with what has become, in todays' cinema, a meaningless tag. Out of the Furnace is the kind of drama that would have been made by Warner Brothers in the 40s, under the old studio system, with leads played by Bogart, Garfield and Ann Sheridan. It's a meaty, gritty drama that would please a very wide audience - if that audience could find it. Initially bigger "names" were attached to this project, with Ridley Scott slated to direct Leonardo DiCaprio, with a spec script from Brad Inglesby. Other commitments resulted in Scott and DiCaprio withdrawing to function on the project as producers, with a screenplay from new director Scott Cooper (2009's Crazy Heart). The originally envisaged project may have been more flashy, but I doubt that it could have been better.

     Scott's screenplay is set in North Braddock, Pennsylvania, "the Birth Place of Steel", but now a decaying and depressing shadow of its former industrial strength. Older brother Russell Blaze (Christian Bale) works in the local steel mill and lives with his girl, Lena (Zoe Saldana). Younger brother Rodney Jr (Casey Affleck) finds it more difficult to conform to the norms of his family, refusing to give his life to working in the mill. Rodney is a veteran of Iraq, aware that he has been changed and damaged by his war experiences. Rodney has succumbed to gambling, and his losses on horseracing leave him indebted to local bar owner John Petty (Willem Dafoe), who organises illegal sporting competitions on the side. Rodney begins to box in Petty's bouts in order to repay his debts. Meanwhile a motor accident leads to Russell's imprisonment, and while he is behind bars Rodney becomes more deeply involved with the darker underbelly of Braddock. Russell is released, and finds that Lena is pregnant and under the protective wing of Police Chief Wesley Barnes (Forest Whitaker), turning her back on Russell's attempts at reconciliation. Problems accelerate until, under pressure from Petty, Rodney agrees to a boxing contest between himself and Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson).

     Without spoiling the plot, the drama increases in intensity, with characters that are totally credible. Performances are tremendous from what must be the most talent-packed cast of the past decade. Christian Bale, intense and realistically gritty, is superb, while Casey Affleck is possibly the best he has been - with every syllable of his dialogue totally intelligible. All cast members are faultless - even one of my least favourite actors, Forest Whittaker. Harrelson is terrifying and Dafoe matches him superbly. Their scenes with Casey Affleck are riveting, with so much conveyed in the eyes of all three. Acting does not get any better than this. Zoe Saldana gives yet another impressive performance. What a solid, consistent - and beautiful - actress she is! This supporting cast is so good you may feel that individuals are underutilised, but this is basically the story of two brothers and Bale and Affleck are both sensational. I neglected to mention Sam Shepard as the uncle of the Baze brothers. What a cast!

     Beautifully shot - with excellent editing from David Rosenbloom (Transcendence) - the filmmakers brilliantly capture the drama of these lives, caught in their often stark and brutal environment. This exceptional drama will grab you and give you an emotional shakeup. You will not forget the film, or its characters, in a hurry.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Out of the Furnace comes to home video in an extremely solid DVD transfer. Presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, and 16x9 enhanced, the widescreen compositions are excellent. Shot anamorphically on Kodak 35mm film, by Masanobu Takayanagi (Silver Linings Playbook) the movie captures perfectly the environment of this drama, both in the depressed - though attractive - rural surrounds or the harshness of the industrial landscapes. Widescreen images are beautifully composed, with excellent clarity and detail, in wide shots and in close-ups. Many scenes are dark, with natural lighting frequently employed, but even the darkest scenes retain very good shadow detail. The colour palette is rather subdued, as you would expect, without looking artificially manipulated, and the skin tones are excellent

     Subtitles are white and centred at the foot of the screen. A sampling found them to be accurate.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     There are two audio streams; English Dolby Digital 5.1 Encoded at 48 kHz and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Encoded, with option of Audio Description for the Vision Impaired.

     The transfer comes with an excellent 5.1 soundtrack. Dialogue is crystal clear, though very realistic, with no trace of any sync problems. The emphasis here is on realism rather than tweaked effects, but the aural environment is brilliantly captured making full use of the entire soundfield. The nature sounds of rural Pennsylvania contrast with the industrial aural pollution of the steel industry. We are also placed squarely in the middle of the brutal fight scenes. Here the ugliness is emphasised with oomph from the subwoofer, and there are the dramatic bursts of gunfire that really startle. Another aural standout is Dickon Hinchliffe's original score. Once again, as with Winter's Bone, this composer's score intensifies the darker undertones of these lives, with many sequences downright funereal. Contrasting with these sombre sequences we get bursts of country flavoured guitar in this richly emotive score.

     The Descriptive Narration for the Vision Impaired is of the usual high standard.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     There are no extras on the local release apart from three trailers at startup.

Menu

     The menu screen has a still of Christian Bale on the left-hand side, and a live montage on the right, with music from the original score.

Startup Trailers

     All are quite good quality, and all are 16x9 enhanced: Transcendence (1:29): Presented at the ratio of 2.35:1, Draft Day (2:20): Presented at the ratio of 2.35:1 and The Inevitable Defeat of Mr & Pete (2:20): Presented at the ratio of 2.35:1.

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     Out of the Furnace is released here without these four featurettes which are on the US release :
                  Inspiration (3:30) : A discussion by the cast on what drew them to acting
                  Scott Cooper (6:39) : The director discusses his motivations in filmmaking.
                  Crafting the Fight Scenes (5:15) A behind-the-scenes look at the fight sequences.
                  The Music of Out of the Furnace (9:07).

    All other things being equal I would have to choose the Region 1 release. A well made, out-of-the-rut movie such as this deserves some background information.

Summary

     Big names in what is essentially a sombre, gritty and frequently starkly brutal "little" film. Out of the Furnace, though, is big on impact, delivering memorable, compelling drama from its top cast and extremely gifted director. If you love those old Warners crime/family dramas, this one will definitely fill the bill. A shame there is no extras, but the transfer, image and sound, leave nothing to be desired. Highly recommended.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Monday, July 28, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BLU RAY BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA55A950D1F : 55 inch LCD HD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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