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From the director of Crazy Heart, comes Out of the Furnace. A movie so full of the regular grit of everyday life, that it almost seems to pour out of your tv. The movie really reflects the hardship and sad state of living that grips towns as their mills or mines close, leaving no place to work and everyone who lives their with a constant state of melancholy leading to despair.

It is at its most basic a revenge movie, as one brother seeks to find out the truth of his brother’s murder. Casey Affleck returns from military deployment with a severe case of PTSD.  He tries to pay off gambling debts by bare knuckle fighting.   He is frustrated, knowing the chance to live the American Dream is not in his reach.

He is supported by his steadfast brother, played by Christian Bale.   Bale is excellent in the role.  He also has dreams of the a promising future, is dating a girl, and looks forward with hope.

While Christian Bale is fantastic, holy smokes, Woody Harrelson is out of this world terrific. His meth dealer is sadistic and brutal. He is the dark of the world to Bale’s hopefulness. Harrelson has just been a joy to watch in all of his recent movies and he just chews up the scenes he is in. A touch slow at times, but never boring, this film has such great acting, it is a just fantastic.

3.5 stars – A Hitting a Mark recommendation.

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