In a poor, working class, Pennsylvania town, two brothers (played by Christian Bale and Casey Affleck) struggle to make better lives for themselves.  Bale seems to be on a good track to achieving a bit of the American dream, working hard, staying out of trouble, and having the love of a good woman; but a small mistake leads to an accident that derails his life.  Affleck, a soldier in the US Army, has gambling problems and suffers from PTSD due to his combat tours in the Middle East.

Now out of prison, Bale has lost much, but continues to fight for what little he has.  Affleck has lost some of his sanity overseas, and takes part in illegal fighting to make money to pay off his gambling debts.  But Affleck doesn’t just fight for money, he does it to deal with his inner demons that have haunted him since his overseas deployment.  A tough fighter who never quits and isn’t afraid of anyone, Affleck wants a match that has a big payday so he can clear his debts and start fresh.  Well, he gets that match; and it sets him on a collision course with a vicious gangster played by Woody Harrelson, who will forever alter the lives of the two brothers.

“Out of The Furnace” is a grim story of brotherly love, the damage that war does to soldiers, men who feed on others for money, and how working hard and doing the right thing can still lead to failure and suffering.  Depressing, yes; but it’s a good movie filled with heavy hitters like Bale, Affleck, Harrelson, Willem Dafoe, and Forest Whitaker.

One of my memorable moments of this movie is the scene when Affleck fires up his car — a classic, Oldsmobile Cutlass, I think — and revs up the engine, giving the audience an earful of that loud, beautiful exhaust that 8 cylinders produce.  Damn the gas prices and noxious crap that comes out of the exhaust pipes, that 8 cylinder rumble is music to my ears.

My most memorable, movie moment of “Out Of The Furnace” is the opening shot of the movie: rows of cars facing the screen of a drive-in movie!  Yes, Americans, they still exist!  I happen to go to one of them on a regular basis, and I always feel like a kid going there.  It’s a bit of a time warp, feels like a dream, and for about 3 and 1/2 hours (they play double features) my worries are gone.   Now, tell me what else is out there that can give you all that for $9?

— M

My red car parked near the screen of a drive-in movie theater.

My red car parked near the screen of a drive-in movie theater.

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