Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Out of the Furnace

Year 9, Day 164 - 6/13/17 - Movie #2,659

BEFORE: Casey Affleck carries over from "Manchester By the Sea" and closes out his three films in about a week's time.  Yeah, they were all supposed to run together at one point but it made more sense to separate them a bit.  I've got to keep the chain flexible, to allow other films to be dropped in here and there, as long as linking is maintained then I feel good about it.

But the ending of three films with Casey Affleck is also the beginning of four films with Forest Whitaker, that's just the way things go.  Circle of life.

THE PLOT: When Rodney Baze mysteriously disappears and law enforcement doesn't follow through fast enough, his older brother Russell takes matters into his own hands to find justice.

AFTER: An Iraq veteran, steelworkers, drug dealers and underground bare-knuckle boxing.  There's a lot of pain and misery to go around tonight, I feel like I'm soaking in it.  (There are more specific things that this film happens to share with "Manchester By the Sea" but I'm withholding some to prevent spoilers.)  But it's part prison film, part crime drama, part boxing movie - and yet it's not really any of those things, what it is becomes rather hard to quantify, but like most of the other films in the past week, pretty much everyone is circling the drain, or standing on shifting sands, like quicksand.  Yeah, that's it, metaphorically we're all sinking into quicksand, and we don't take the proper steps to save ourselves, since we might not even know we're sinking until it's too late to prevent it.

This is set somewhere in Pennsylvania, Wiki tells me the steel mill setting is in North Braddock, and the prison scenes are set at Moundsville, which is in West Virginia.  The scenes with the psycho drug dealer and his gang are apparently set somewhere in Bergen County, NJ - there was a lawsuit after this film was released about the portrayal of a Native American tribe from Mahwah, NJ, and their environs in the Ramapo Mountains.  It seems the film used some character names that are close to the names of some real people who live there, and those people took offense.  A filmmaker today, before using any name in a film, needs to protect himself by finding someone with that name and signing a contract with that person to buy the right to use their name, it can be for a low amount like one dollar. I thought that this was standard Hollywood practice by now to prevent litigation.

I've got to find a way to pivot away from all these depressing movies - it's been nothing but misery, night after night, ever since "The Zero Theorem".  You could say that "Moonlight Mile" and "Demolition" ended on positive points, but that doesn't make up for how depressing most of those films were.  Unfortunately, there's more darkness ahead for the next two weeks - more hit-men, heists, at least two assassinations, two serial killers, an oil-rig disaster and a prominent bombing.  After that, I think I'll need to dive into some upbeat animated films for a change of pace.

Also starring Christian Bale (last seen in "The Big Short"), Woody Harrelson (last seen in "Triple 9"), Zoe Saldana (last seen in "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2"), Willem Dafoe (last seen in "John Wick"), Sam Shepard (last seen in "Midnight Special"), Forest Whitaker (last seen in "Rogue One"), Tom Bower (last seen in "Pollock"), Boyd Holbrook (last seen in "Logan"), Bingo O'Malley.

RATING: 4 out of 10 orange hunting vests

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