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Todd McCarthy’s Summary Overrides Critique in “Furnace Fest”

In response to Todd McCarthy’s 961‑word review of Out of the Furnace on Hollywood Reporter

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Todd McCarthy has written a solid and informative post-AFI Fest review with “Out of the Furnace: AFI Fest Review,” however it mostly a plot summary and a quick rundown of the characters.

Furnace Fest is visually alluring as The Hollywood Report always is, but the content barely matches the beauty of the webpage. Fortunately, the piece is written by a master of the keystroke, which makes for a swell read.

McCarthy acknowledges director Scott Cooper at the beginning of Furnace Fest, but doesn’t show any commitment to breaking down the inner workings of the film. Instead, the critic describes the action and makes a few thought-provoking comments along the way. The fascinating introductory paragraph is a bonus, along with the commentary on Woody Harrelson’s character, but sadly McCarthy seems like he just wanted to get something online rather than producing a deep critique (although the piece is lengthy).

One will learn that bad things happen in Furnace Fest, and that Woody Harrelson’s Harlan DeGroat will play a main factor. However, when it comes to character analysis for the rest of the cast, McCarthy rushes through each character at the end of the review as if thinking “Well, I better mention each character,” rather than giving a full amount of effort.

When it comes to Christian Bale’s performance, all the critic can manage to come up with is “Bale throws himself into his role earnestly and impressively,” and then transitions into a few thoughts on his character.

Furnace Fest has its moments, which is to be expected, but the summary overrides the critique.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation