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A. A. Dowd’s “Genre Film” Is a Rust-Belt, Mind-Melter of a Review

In response to A.A. Dowd’s 601‑word review of Out of the Furnace on AV Club

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A. A. Dowd delivers an intellectual but street-smart piece with the entertaining “Out Of The Furnace dresses down a run-of-the-(steel)-mill genre film.” The critic is clearly a structural wizard, and his precision writing is so good that the deepest of Dowd fans will surely tremble with anticipation for when the critic pens his own screenplay (if he hasn’t already).

Genre Film hooks the reader instantly with a fantastic (and terrifying) paragraph on Woody Harrelson’s Harlan DeGroat. It’s not difficult to imagine readers backing away slowly from their screen as Dowd details all the nasty business of the character. “Heya doc, I need to talk about hot dogs,” says the reader in a frantic phone call to the shrink.

Dowd strips down all the grittiness and guy code complexities of the film, and serves up a dish of cliches and fatalism. The critic explores possible inspirations for director Scott Cooper, while maintaing a steady takedown tone that offers a bit of reality for the curious reader.

The character analysis of Genre Film won’t make anyone drool, but the crafting of words certainly allows one to get  a sense of the characters, especially Christian Bale’s Russell. Dowd’s piece is enormously entertaining, and his intellectual writing will be a big hit during round-table discussions of review connoisseurs.

Genre Film should be enjoyed with a tasty bottle of fine wine, but it also has appeal for 12-pack guzzlers of Milwaukee’s Best.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation