Out of the Furnace
|Out of the Furnace|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Scott Cooper|
|Produced by||Jennifer Davisson Killoran
|Written by||Brad Ingelsby
|Music by||Dickon Hinchliffe
|Editing by||David Rosenbloom|
|Studio||Appian Way Productions
Scott Free Productions
|Distributed by||Relativity Media|
|Running time||116 minutes|
Out of the Furnace is a 2013 American thriller film, directed by Scott Cooper, from a screenplay written by Cooper and Brad Ingelsby. Produced by Ridley Scott and Leonardo DiCaprio for Relativity Media, the film stars Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe and Sam Shepard. The film received a limited release in Los Angeles and New York City on December 4, 2013, followed by a wide theatrical release on December 6.
After getting off work at a North Braddock steel mill, Russell Baze (Bale) catches his brother Rodney (Affleck) at a horse racing simulcast where Rodney had just bet on a losing horse. Russell inquires as to where Rodney got the money to which Rodney responds that John Petty (Dafoe) had loaned it to him. Petty owns a bar and runs several illegal games. Russell vists Petty at the bar and gives him his paycheck to pay off some of Rodney's debt, promising to pay the rest when his next paycheck comes in. Driving home after leaving the bar intoxicated, Russell hits another car killing its occupants, including a little boy. He is incarcerated for vehicular manslaughter. While in prison is informed that his father has passed away, and that his girlfriend Lena (Saldana) has left him for the small town police chief, Wesley (Whitaker).
Upon his release from prison Russell returns home and resumes his job at the mill. He visits Lena to ask for her back but she informs him that she is pregnant with Wesley's baby. Russell unsuccessfully feigns happiness to Lena, saying she will be a great mom, but they both know that her pregnancy makes their getting back together an impossibility.
The same day, Rodney is shown participating in a backwoods fighting ring and proceeds to win. This upsets Petty as Rodney was supposed to take a dive as a way to repay some of the gambling debt he owes Petty. The next morning, Russell finds Rodney's bloodied wrist tapes in the trash and confronts him about it. Russell argues with Rodney to work in the mill but Rodney, a four-tour Iraq veteran, is too proud and his war experiences have scarred him mentally. Rodney visits Petty's office at the back of his bar where he tells Petty the "nickel and dime" fights will never give him enough money to pay Petty back. Rodney then insists that Petty call "New Jersey" and set up a high-stakes fight. Petty reluctantly arranges a fight with Harlan DeGroat (Harrelson), a sociopathic drug dealer to whom Petty owes a lot of money.
Arriving at DeGroat's property Petty tells Rodney he must lose the fight. Rodney tells Petty he may not be able to take a fall. When DeGroat seeks assurances Rodney will lose the fight, Petty nervously responds he will, and Rodney agrees he will take a fall. During the fight Rodney almost knocks out his opponent, but when hearing Petty pleading with him to do what he must, Rodney lays on top of the fighter and tells him he needs to get up to make his win look convincing. Rodney helps the fighter get up and then proceeds to let the fighter beat him to the ground and pummel his face.
After the fight DeGroat approaches Petty for the rest of the money Petty owes him. Petty tells DeGroat that this fight made them even, DeGroat paid in full, and reminds him that was their deal. DeGroat drops the subject. While driving back home, Petty and Rodney are ambushed by DeGroat and his men. DeGroat first shoots and kills Petty, and on having Rodney dragged to the woods, shoots and kills him. (When Petty drove into what he suspected was an ambush he pulled out his gun from a coat pocket. Unbeknownst to anyone, when reaching into his pocket for the gun he accidentally dialed his cell phone and it fell out of his pocket and on to the car seat. The call connected to his bartender Dan's voice mail and provided direct evidence that DeGroat was the killer.)
That night, Russell enters Rodney's room where he finds a letter from Rodney. Rodney states that this will be his last fight and wants to work with Russell at the mill. Wesley informs Russell about Rodney's disappearance and Russell sets off to find him. Arriving in DeGroat's town, he is escorted out by the sheriff and informed that DeGroat has a large following and is not easily apprehendable.
Upon returning to the mill, Russell is visited by Wesley who confirms Rodney's death. Russell goes to Petty's office where he finds a phone number for DeGroat. He calls DeGroat, enticing him to collect on Petty's debt. When DeGroat comes to the bar, Russell sabotages DeGroat's van to prevent escape and confronts him. DeGroat is able to escape to a nearby shutdown mill where Russell subdues him and shoots him in the thigh. Russell then follows DeGroat as he hobbles off and shoots him in the back. Russell informs DeGroat who he really is as Wesley approaches the mill. Wesley pleads for Russell to put down his gun but Russell proceeds to carefully aim his hunting rifle and shoots DeGroat in the head.
The film cuts to Russell sitting at home at the dining table, implying he wasn't charged with DeGroat's killing.
- Christian Bale as Russell Baze
- Casey Affleck as Rodney Baze, Jr.
- Woody Harrelson as Harlan DeGroat
- Zoe Saldana as Lena Warren
- Forest Whitaker as Wesley Barnes
- Willem Dafoe as John Petty
- Sam Shepard as Gerald "Red" Baze
- Boyd Holbrook as Tattooed Guy
The film was produced by Relativity Media, with Jeff Waxman, Tucker Tooley and Brooklyn Weaver serving as executive producers. Director Scott Cooper read an article about Braddock, Pennsylvania, a declining steel industry town outside of Pittsburgh, and the efforts to revitalize it, led by mayor John Fetterman. After visiting, Cooper was inspired to use the borough as the backdrop for a film. Cooper developed the story from The Low Dweller, a spec script written by Brad Ingelsby that had actor Leonardo DiCaprio and director Ridley Scott attached. The studio offered the script to Cooper, which he rewrote, drawing on his experience of growing up in Appalachia and losing a sibling at a young age. DiCaprio and Scott stayed on as producers of the film. The story has no relation to Out of This Furnace, a 1941 historical novel by Thomas Bell, set in Braddock. The Hollywood Reporter reported the film's budget to be $22 million.
Principal photography began in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area on April 13, 2012, and wrapped on June 1, 2012. The majority of filming took place in Braddock, with additional filming in nearby North Braddock, Imperial, and Rankin. Cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi shot the feature in the anamorphic format on Kodak 35 mm film. Prison scenes were filmed in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia, at the former State Penitentiary in Moundsville. Filming also took place in rural Beaver County, including a deer hunting scene in Raccoon Creek State Park, and a mill scene in Koppel. Independence Township doubled for Bergen County, New Jersey. The Carrie Furnace, an abandoned blast furnace near Braddock, served as the location for the film's finale. Christian Bale wore a tattoo of Braddock's ZIP code, 15104, on his neck as an homage to the town's mayor John Fetterman, who has the same design on his arm.
The musical score to Out of the Furnace was composed by Dickon Hinchliffe. Originally, it was announced that Alberto Iglesias had reached an agreement to compose the score for the film. However, Hinchliffe later took over scoring duties. Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder also recorded a new song for the film. A soundtrack album featuring Hinchliffe's score was released digitally on December 3, 2013 by Relativity Music Group.
The film premiered at the TCL Chinese Theatre on November 9, 2013 in Hollywood, California as part of the American Film Institute's AFI Fest. It received a limited release in Los Angeles and New York City on December 4, 2013, followed by a wide theatrical release in the U.S. on December 6. Director Scott Cooper won the award for best first or second film for Out of the Furnace at the 2013 Rome Film Festival.
The Pearl Jam song "Release" is featured during the opening title and features in a newly recorded edition during the end credits.
Out of the Furnace has received generally favorable reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an average approval rating of 52% based on 138 reviews, with an average rating of 6/10. The general consensus for the site says: "While it may not make the most of its incredible cast, Out of the Furnace is still so packed with talent that it's hard to turn away." The film holds a score of 64 (indicating "generally favorable reviews") out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 37 critics.
Out of the Furnace was the only new film to receive a wide release in the U.S. on December 6, 2013, and earned an estimated $1.8 million on its opening day. The film took in an estimated $5.3 million over its opening weekend. The Los Angeles Times and The Hollywood Reporter characterized it as a box office bomb. The film came in third behind the animated Disney film Frozen, which brought in $31.6 million, and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which had $27 million in ticket sales that weekend. Relativity Media had pre-sold the film to foreign distributors for $16 million, which offset its costs.
Town officials from Mahwah, New Jersey urged a boycott of the film due to negative depictions of the Ramapough Lenape Nation, an indigenous people living around the Ramapo Mountains  characterizing the film as a hate crime. Relativity Media responded that the film "is not based on any one person or group" and is "entirely fictional". Nine members of the group, eight of whom have the surname of the movie's lead character, DeGroat, filed suit against the makers and other involved parties, claiming that Out of the Furnace portrays a gang of "inbreds" living in the Ramapo Mountains who are "lawless, drug-addicted, impoverished and violent." "The Defendants, and each of them, knew or should have known that their actions would place Plaintiffs, and/or any person so situated in a false light.," says the lawsuit. "The connection between the ethnic slur of 'Jackson Whites', with the location of the Ramapo Mountains of New Jersey', with a Bergen County Police patrol car, with the surnames 'DeGroat' and 'Van Dunk', is too specific to the Ramapough plaintiffs to be chance, coincidence or happenstance, and implies an element of knowledge on the part of the Defendants, or some of them."
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- "WILBUR C. DEGROAT, III, ARLITTA DEGROAT, LEON DEGROAT, DIANE DEGROAT, PIA DEGROAT DENNISON, MARIE DEGROAT MANN, RODNEY VAN DUNK, EUNICE DEGROAT, GILBERT DEGROAT,, ROSEMARIE MANN, AMANDA MANN, DAWN MANN, SANTANA PETERSON, JAZMINE PETERSON, RACHAEL MANN, DANIEL W. DENNISON, JR and JON VAN DUNK, Plaintiffs, v SCOTT COOPER; BRAD INGLESBY; RELATIVITY MEDIA, LLC a California limited liability company; APPIAN WAY, LLC, a California limited liability company; ENERGY ENTERTAINMENT, INC., a California corporation; SCOTT FREE PRODUCTIONS, INC., a California corporation; RED GRANITE PICTURES, INC. a California corporation; and JOHN DOES 1 to 5, Defendants". NJ.com. Retrieved 2013-12-23.