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Scot West’s “Furnace” Flickers, Then Fades

In response to Scot West’s 394‑word review of Out of the Furnace on Paste Magazine

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Scot West, at the end of the first paragraph of his review of the sophomore effort from director Scott Cooper, “Out of the Furnace,” poses the question, “where did it fall short?”

This is a question most readers will be asking themselves upon finishing West’s piece. He’s got the ole tried and true three act structure—first a paragraph outlining the cast and providing a little context, then a plot rehash followed by a closer full of critique.

The prose is certainly capable enough. West is clearly a competent and efficient writer and he keeps everything moving with relative ease (though, at a slight 394 words, that’s not a Herculean task).

So, where does it go wrong? It’s in the critique where West stumbles. It starts out strong, with the critic offering a legitimate criticism about the film’s “attempt to expand a story beyond its traditional bounds and really make a meaningful revenge flick,” but the discussion soon dissolves into a tangential rumination about the films of Liam Neeson and Quentin Tarantino, which could be a worthy side note, but in a review this size, it’s only wasted space that should be devoted to real analysis of the film at hand.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation