Out of the Furnace

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Out of the Furnace
Out of the Furnace Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byScott Cooper
Written by
Produced by
CinematographyMasanobu Takayanagi
Edited byDavid Rosenbloom
Music byDickon Hinchliffe
Distributed byRelativity Media
Release date
  • December 6, 2013 (2013-12-06)
Running time
116 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$22 million[1]
Box office$15.7 million[2]

Out of the Furnace is a 2013 American crime drama film directed by Scott Cooper, from a screenplay written by Cooper and Brad Ingelsby. Produced by Ridley Scott and Leonardo DiCaprio, the film stars Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, and Sam Shepard.

The film is about Pennsylvania steel mill worker Russell Baze (Bale), and his Iraq war veteran brother Rodney (Affleck) who cannot adjust to civilian life. Rodney makes money fighting bareknuckle for bar owner and small-time criminal John Petty (Dafoe), who runs illegal gambling operations, but becomes so indebted due to gambling losses that he begs Petty for a big money fight. After Petty reluctantly arranges this with a ruthless backwoods criminal gang, Rodney disappears and his brother tries to find out what has happened to him.

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. The film earned $15.7 million against its $22 million budget and it received mixed reviews.


Steel mill worker Russell Baze sees his brother, Rodney, at a horse racing simulcast. Rodney reveals the money he bet with - and lost - was lent by John Petty, who owns a bar and runs several illegal games. Russell visits Petty, pays off part of Rodney's debt, and promises to pay the rest. Driving home intoxicated, Russell hits a car, killing its occupants, and is incarcerated for vehicular manslaughter. While Russell is in prison, his ailing father dies and his girlfriend Lena leaves him for police chief Wesley Barnes.

After serving his sentence, Russell returns home and resumes his job. The same day, Rodney participates in an illegal bareknuckle prize fight. He was supposed to take a "dive" to repay some of the debt, but becomes enraged when beat up and defeats his opponent instead. The next morning, Russell finds Rodney's bloodied knuckle tapes and confronts him about it. Russell urges Rodney to work in the mill, but Rodney, a four-tour Iraq war veteran, is too mentally scarred for a regular job.

Tired of small money fights to chip at his debt, Rodney convinces Petty to organize a more lucrative fight. Reluctantly, Petty arranges one with Harlan DeGroat, a sociopathic drug dealer from rural New Jersey to whom Petty owes money. Meanwhile Russell wants his girlfriend back, but she is pregnant with Wesley's baby. Russell, visibly upset, says she will be a great mom. They part ways knowing that her pregnancy makes it impossible to get back together.

Once again, Rodney is told to intentionally lose. During the fight, Rodney nearly knocks out his opponent, but then takes a dive as instructed. After the fight, DeGroat asks for the rest of his loan, but Petty reminds him they had agreed that this fight made them even. However, DeGroat and his men ambush Petty and Rodney on the drive home. Claiming he does not consider his debt paid, DeGroat kills Petty and has Rodney dragged into the woods and killed as well. Unbeknownst to anyone, Petty's cell phone had fallen onto the car seat, accidentally connecting to his bartender Dan's voicemail and recording DeGroat murdering Petty.

That night, Russell finds a letter from Rodney, stating that this will be his last fight and that he wants to work with Russell at the mill. Wesley informs Russell about Rodney's disappearance, and Russell and his uncle, Red, set off to find him. In DeGroat's town, Russell and Red are stopped by a Bergen County deputy sheriff, who informs them that DeGroat's men would kill them if they knew why the two were in town, and, as a favor to Wesley, he will escort them to the state line rather than searching and arresting them for illegally carrying concealed weapons.

Upon returning to the mill, Wesley visits Russell and confirms Rodney's death. Russell goes to Petty's office, finds a phone number for DeGroat, and calls him without identifying himself, enticing him to come to collect Petty's debt.

At the bar, Russell sabotages DeGroat's van to prevent his escape and confronts him. He stalks and shoots DeGroat twice. Russell informs DeGroat that he is Rodney's brother, as Wesley approaches the field in a squad car. Wesley pleads for Russell to put down his gun, but Russell proceeds to carefully aim his hunting rifle and shoots DeGroat in the back of the head. The film cuts to a pensive Russell sitting at home at the dining table, suggesting that Wesley had arranged matters so that Russell avoided prison.[3]




The film was produced by Relativity Media, Appian Way Productions, Red Granite Pictures, and Scott Free Productions, with Jeff Waxman, Tucker Tooley, Brooklyn Weaver, Riza Aziz, Joey McFarland, Joe Gatta, Danny Dimbort, and Christian Mercuri serving as executive producers.[4] 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.[5] 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.[6] Rupert Sanders had been attached to direct in 2009, but left due to scheduling conflicts.[7][8] 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.[9] DiCaprio and Scott stayed on as producers of the film.[6] The story has no relation to Out of This Furnace, a 1941 historical novel by Thomas Bell, set in Braddock.[10] The Hollywood Reporter reported the film's budget was $22 million.[1]


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, and additional filming was in nearby North Braddock, Imperial, Rankin, and Swissvale.[11] Cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi shot the feature in anamorphic format on Kodak 35mm film.[12] Prison scenes were filmed in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia, at the former State Penitentiary in Moundsville.[4] Filming also took place in rural Beaver County, including a deer hunting scene in Raccoon Creek State Park and a mill scene in Koppel.[13] Independence Township doubled for Bergen County, New Jersey.[14] The Carrie Furnace, an abandoned blast furnace near Braddock, served as the location for the film's finale.[5] Christian Bale wore a tattoo of Braddock's ZIP code, 15104, on his neck as a homage to the town's then-mayor (now US Senator) John Fetterman, who has the same design on his arm.[15]


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.[16] However, Hinchliffe later took over scoring duties.[17] Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder re-recorded the song "Release" from Pearl Jam's debut album Ten for the film, which can be heard during the opening scenes and end credits. A soundtrack album featuring Hinchliffe's score was released digitally on December 3, 2013, by Relativity Music Group.[18]


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.[19] 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.[20] Director Scott Cooper won the award for best first or second film for Out of the Furnace at the 2013 Rome Film Festival.[21]

The Pearl Jam song "Release" is featured during the opening title and features in a newly recorded edition during the end credits.


Box office[edit]

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.[22] The film took in an estimated $5.3 million over its opening weekend.[23][1][24] 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.[24]

Critical response[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an average approval rating of 54% based on 196 reviews and an average rating of 5.91/10. 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."[25] The film holds a score of 63 (indicating "generally favorable reviews") out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 40 critics.[26] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "C+" on an A+ to F scale.[27]

Top ten lists[edit]

Despite its mixed critical reception, Out of the Furnace appeared on several critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2013.[28]


Town officials from Mahwah, New Jersey, urged a boycott of the film due to negative depictions of the Ramapough Mountain Indians, an indigenous people living around the Ramapo Mountains.[29] They characterized the film's portrayal of this group as a hate crime.[30] Relativity Media responded that the film "is not based on any one person or group" and is "entirely fictional".[31] Nine members of the group, eight of whom have the surname DeGroat, the same as the lead character, 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."[32] The lawsuit asserts that "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." The suit continues, "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."[33]

On May 16, 2014, U.S. District Court Judge William Walls, sitting in Newark, New Jersey, dismissed the lawsuit, saying that the film did not refer directly to any of the plaintiffs.[34]


  1. ^ a b c McClintock, Pamela (December 8, 2013). "Box Office: 'Frozen' Tops 'Catching Fire'; 'Out of the Furnace' DOA". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
  2. ^ "Out of the Furnace". Box Office Mojo. December 29, 2013. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
  3. ^ "What Really Happens At The End Of 'Out Of The Furnace'?". HuffPost UK. December 9, 2013. Retrieved April 28, 2019.
  4. ^ a b Wadas, Amy (April 13, 2012). "Moundsville Movie Great for Local Economy". WTRF. Archived from the original on April 17, 2012. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
  5. ^ a b Corsaro, Louis A. (November 30, 2012). ""Out of the Furnace" shoot warm experience for Braddock". Pittsburgh Business Times. Retrieved July 12, 2013.
  6. ^ a b Fleming, Mike Jr. (April 11, 2011). "'Crazy Heart's Scott Cooper Takes On 'The Low Dweller' For Relativity Media". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  7. ^ Zeitchik, Steven (July 6, 2009). "DiCaprio's 'Dweller' near director". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 28, 2022.
  8. ^ Jagernauth, Kevin (February 24, 2012). "Christian Bale To Star In 'Crazy Heart' Director Scott Cooper's 'Out Of The Furnace'; Robert Duvall Circling, Viggo Mortensen & More Being Sought". IndieWire. Retrieved March 28, 2022.
  9. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (November 20, 2013). "Fleming Q&As 'Out Of The Furnace' Helmer Scott Cooper". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  10. ^ Corsaro, Louis A. (June 21, 2013). "Plot details emerge on 'Out of the Furnace'". Pittsburgh Business Times. Retrieved July 6, 2013.
  11. ^ "Film Crews Prepare Braddock For 'Out Of The Furnace'". CBS Pittsburgh. April 13, 2012. Retrieved April 16, 2012.
  12. ^ "ONFILM Interview: Masanobu Takayanagi". Kodak. October 15, 2013. Archived from the original on December 10, 2013. Retrieved December 10, 2013.
  13. ^ Tady, Scott (April 18, 2012). "Gun-toting Bale films in the area". Beaver County Times. Archived from the original on February 4, 2013. Retrieved April 23, 2012.
  14. ^ Tady, Scott (December 4, 2013). "Local sites appear in 'Out of the Furnace'". Beaver County Times. Archived from the original on December 5, 2013. Retrieved December 4, 2013.
  15. ^ "Academy Conversations: "Out of the Furnace"". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. November 17, 2013. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  16. ^ "Three-Time Oscar®-Nominee Alberto Iglesias to Compose Original Score for Scortt Cooper's Currently-titled Out of the Furnace". Relativity Media. June 5, 2012. Archived from the original on August 9, 2013. Retrieved July 10, 2013.
  17. ^ "Dickon Hinchliffe Scoring 'Hateship, Loveship'". Film Music Reporter. June 5, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  18. ^ "'Out of the Furnace' Soundtrack Details". Film Music Reporter. November 17, 2013. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  19. ^ Vancheri, Barbara (November 10, 2013). "Red-carpet footage from Out of the Furnace world premiere". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  20. ^ "'Out Of The Furnace' Headed To LA & NYC Two Days Before Wide Release". Deadline Hollywood. November 21, 2013. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  21. ^ Lyman, Eric J. (November 16, 2013). "Rome Film Fest: Italian Docudrama 'TIR' Wins Top Prize". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  22. ^ Barton, Chris (December 7, 2013). "Box office: A chilly opening for 'Out of the Furnace'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  23. ^ Stewart, Andrew (December 8, 2013). "Box Office: 'Frozen' Ices 'Fire' in Weekend Showdown; 'Furnace' Fails to Gain Any Heat". Variety. Retrieved December 9, 2013.
  24. ^ a b Kaufman, Amy (December 8, 2013). "'Frozen' tops 'Catching Fire,' but 'Furnace' generates no heat". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 8, 2013.
  25. ^ "Out of the Furnace (2013)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  26. ^ "Out of the Furnace". Metacritic. Retrieved December 13, 2013.
  27. ^ "Home". CinemaScore. Retrieved March 22, 2022.
  28. ^ "2013 Film Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Retrieved April 28, 2019.
  29. ^ Duffy, Christie (December 4, 2013). "'Out of the Furnace' under fire in Mahwah". FiOS1. Archived from the original on December 10, 2013. Retrieved December 5, 2013.
  30. ^ Ivers, Dan (December 5, 2013). "Ramapough Indians, Mahwah officials decry depiction in new movie as 'hate crime'". NJ.com. Retrieved December 23, 2013.
  31. ^ Incalcaterra, Laura (December 6, 2013). "Ramapough chief denounces Christian Bale movie as 'hate crime'". The Journal News. Retrieved December 7, 2013.
  32. ^ Ma, Miles (December 23, 2013). "Members of Ramapough seek $50 million from makers of 'Out of the Furnace' A lawsuit says 'Out of the Furnace,' starring Christian Bale and Zoe Saldana, misrepresents members of the Ramapough Mountain Indians. (Relativity Media)". NJ.com. Retrieved December 23, 2013.
  33. ^ "Plaintiffs v. Scott Cooper; Brad Inglesby; Relativity Media, LLC, et al" (PDF). NJ.com. Retrieved December 23, 2013.
  34. ^ "Judge tosses out Ramapough Mountain Indians' lawsuit over Out of the Furnace". The Star Ledger. May 16, 2014. p. 17.

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