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December 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Out of the Furnace has flown into the heat of critics, who have mostly taken it to task for violence and over-the-top melodrama. Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle assails it, writing that while the actors portray colorful characters, “they seem to be part of a different movie, a dumb but lively sideshow in the midst of a long, grim exercise in garden-variety pointlessness, disguised as nihilism.” Joe Morgenstern in the Wall Street Journal oddly concludes, “I admired it ever more intensely until I realized I wasn’t enjoying it so much as enduring its unremitting bleakness.” Manohla Dargis in the New York Times describes it as “a heavy, solemn tale of blood ties that turns into a melodramatic gusher filled with abstractions about masculinity,” but she praises the performances of the actors. Indeed, several critics suggest that those performances save the film. “Bale, Affleck and Harrelson are in their element as men battered by life, delivering exceptional performances that hold nothing back,” writes Betsy Sharkey in the Los Angeles Times. But Lou Lumenick in the New York Post regards most of those performances as overacting. Director Scott Hooper, he says, “encourages the actors — especially Harrelson — to chew the beautifully photographed scenery.”