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Cynthia Fuchs’s “Bale Is Gaunt and Tough” Is Refreshingly Over the Top

In response to Cynthia Fuchs’s 766‑word review of Out of the Furnace on PopMatters

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Even if the blatant use use of profanity at the beginning of  Cyntha Fuchs’ “Christian Bale is Gaunt and Tough in ‘Out of the Furnace’” is a bit of a jolt, you have to admit, it’s effective. But this is only one of the many revelations in this critic’s surprisingly poetic piece.

Yes, that’s right—poetic. Fuchs chooses to approach this piece in a style not too common in your standard film reviewing. And if it’s possible at times to get lost in the occasionally overwrought prose, the ultimate result is so  fresh and unique, it doesn’t matter. She always brings you back.

Notice how, after describing a decidedly brutal scene to open the review (the use of profanity is actually a quote from the film) she then goes on to write with elegiacal insight about another scene in the film that provides “the promise of a fecund future” amidst a “grim grey existence” before things go back to being really bleak. A little over the top? Yes, it is. Enjoyable, though? Another yes.

Fuchs goes on to uses phrases such as “grey hunkering over the horizon” and “the mill belching smoke,” and… well, you get the idea.

All right, maybe a little simple, straightforward sentence structure now and then might have helped to focus the piece. But the phrasing never feels fake. And in a review season  where pedantic is sometimes the word of the day, this piece is a welcome surprise.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation