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Daniel Eagan’s “The Furnace” Does Nothing to Stand Out in Review Game

In response to Daniel Eagan’s 529‑word review of Out of the Furnace on Film Journal International

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Are you looking for a quick, mildly informative movie review? Daniel Eagan is your man with the boring “Film Review: Out of the Furnace.”

The Furnace is not a terrible critique, but after the initial outpouring of vast and expansive works of deep analysis, a collection of average pieces was inevitable. Eagan’s piece is just another review that does enough to get by, and doesn’t make a mark in any way.

For example, the film has an excellent cast, but Eagan waits until the final paragraph to give them each a sentence or two. It’s almost unacceptable. What exactly can one learn about Christian Bale “perfecting Russell’s glowering rage?” That one statement does absolutely nothing to give the reader a sense of the performance, and it’s just flat out lazy. The same goes for the rest of the cast. There is nothing for one to chew on.

The middle section The Furnace is satisfactory, but Eagan spends two paragraphs focusing on a comparison with The Deer Hunter. One can find value in the critic’s scene breakdown, but this cinematic reference is quickly becoming a go-to theme in almost every review, and no one shows an ability to expand. Eagan’s thoughts on director Scott Cooper’s techniques are intriguing, but they end far too quickly.

The Furnace is a solid review, but Eagan’s critique comes across as simple, and is definitely not suitable for the review connoisseur.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation