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R. Kurt Osenlund’s “Furnace” Carries the Eternal Flame of Classic Critique

In response to R. Kurt Osenlund’s 848‑word review of Out of the Furnace on Slant Magazine 

http://www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/out-of-the-furnace

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R. Kurt Osenlund delivers the best critique of Scott Cooper’s Rust Belt ballad to date with his “Out of the Furnace,” a meticulously composed work whose prose is as gorgeously layered as its critique.

Osenlund’s pen here teases out lush, richly detailed sentences that will take your breath away with their syntactical limberness and vernacular variety. When he gets his literary motor turned over, nothing can stand in his way and, even as he goes through hyper intellectual, dense criticism, the lithe writing ensures smooth passage.

The insights are Noam Chomsky/Bertrand Russell deep and Osenlund, unlike his fellow critics, never shies away from offering analysis. The piece is absolutely packed to the gills with mouth watering dissection.

There are times when all the philosophizing and elaboration threatens to become pompously overwrought, but Osenlund has a keen sense of his audience and he pulls back the reins at all the right places, maintaining a cadence that keeps the proceedings down to earth and digestible.

This is a master work and, for fans of film criticism, it’s a rare treat to see a critic so in command of both his prose and his critical thought.

If you haven’t already, read this one now.    

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