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Betsy Sharkey Should Take a Bow for “Bare-Knuckle Lives”

In response to Betsy Sharkey’s 842‑word review of Out of the Furnace on Los Angeles Times 

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/moviesnow/la-et-mn-out-of-the-furnace-review-20131204,0,4155872.story#axzz2mSpcVGEt

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Betsy Sharkey’s sharp “Review: ‘Out of the Furnace’ beautifully captures bare-knuckle lives” is an elegantly written piece of film criticism that stands out over other pieces in this review season. Her thoughtful prose bares repeat-reading; her use of the language is something you’ll want to experience again and again.

Sharkey takes her time here, but never does the pace feel like it’s lagging. The way she lays out the film’s storyline throughout, like a mystery you are anxiously waiting to be resolved, is superb.

But her phrasing—oh, her phrasing!—creates so many wonderful moments. Take, for example, when she describes a character’s wordless rage in the film as “ripped from the emotional core” and “frustration made manifest.” Then there’s her description of another character as “one of those stoically decent men forged in the foundries of the Rust Belt.” Beautiful. And these are just from the first three paragraphs. Later, when she calls these characters “the visceral spine of this film,” you will feel like you are in film critique heaven. The review is filled with moments like these.

And there’s so much more, as when the reviewer takes the time to comment on mood, pacing and scene authenticity. This is a complete work. and by the time you are finished, you will  want to go back and read it all again.

Betsy Sharkey should stand up and take a bow for her work in Bare-Knuckle Lives. Whether exquisite or harrowing in its execution, her phrasing is always finely tuned. When you read it, make sure you savor every word.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation