Hands down, the least likable film of 2013 has to be Out of the Furnace, co-written and directed by Scott Cooper.  To make matters worse, the Dec. 6 release starring Christian Bale has major Oscar pretensions and is hitting up Academy voters for their attention. Cooper wrote and directed the marvelous 2009 Crazy Heart – his very first film  which garnered Jeff Bridges a long overdue and well deserved Oscar. But we ask with great respect, “Scott, what were you thinking? Why oh why did you squander your considerable talent and bring this piece of movie garbage to life?”

At the advance screening we went to, literally 12 of the tortured media walked out. We’ve heard the same for other screenings. Yes, there is the pretentious Hollywood set that thinks this film is gritty and starkly powerful, with some critics comparing it to 1978’s The Deer Hunter. But they are deluded: This film has none of the superb qualities that film had.

Bale plays Russell Baze, a rough and tough guy who works a dead-end blue-collar job at the local steel mill.  Hence the word ‘Furnace’ in the title.  Russell’s brother Rodney, played by Casey Affleck, returns home from Iraq and gets suckered into joining a ruthless crime ring and mysteriously disappears.  Bale takes the law into his own hands, and tries to seek justice for his brother.  The cast tries:  Christian and Casey are joined by  Woody HarrelsonForest WhitakerWillem DafoeZoe Saldana and Sam Shepard.  But these fine actors can’t save the film.

Talk about depressing; this film makes 12 Years A Slave, seem like Mary Poppins. Cooper’s film Crazy Heart was sweet, funny, and poignant, with kick ass music, and characters you genuinely cared about.  This film is completely the opposite. It is full of unrelenting violence and grief that is neither fully explained nor, more importantly, redeemed.  There is just an endless parade of viciousness; brutality against women, fight clubs and prison violence. Add to that disgusting curse words in practically every sentence, unhappy loser people that you don’t give crap about and just endless no win situations.

Once again, why Scott, why?

This film will surely be crowned ‘The Most Unlikeable Film Of 2013!’  We have a winner here!

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