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Tim Grierson’s “Real America” Is Solid but Needs Some Tough Love

In response to Tim Grierson’s 882‑word review of Out of the Furnace on Deadspin

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Tim Grierson has crafted a noteworthy piece of work with “Real America, Minus the Condescension: Out Of The Furnace, Reviewed,” however the analysis does not match the profundity of other early reviews.

First of all, the Bruce Springsteen reference is quickly becoming all the rage in early reviews for the film. It’s quite strange, just like the consistent use of “cantankerous” to describe Bruce Dern in Nebraska.

One may call it “tough love,” but Grierson can surely handle a little critique of his critique to push him to the next level. The early review season is a difficult time, and although TG’s work is consistently solid, there is always room for improvement.

The Grierson Experience is typically quite enjoyable, and the bombardment of reviews that are to come in the next few weeks may eventually place the piece in the upper-third, but the analysis could have been improved.

Real American is a brilliant display of keystroke prowess but there is a severe problem with the character analysis. Grierson addresses the political subtext in the film, however his work focuses on general themes without truly touching upon the pressure point of the film. In other words, he describes the action and offers a healthy amount of criticism, but there is no sense of character or a commitment to inform the reader of the performances.

Grierson acknowledges the work of director Scott Cooper throughout Real America, but skims across everything else, albeit with fine writing skills.

Grierson (unbelievably) comes up with one statement in Real America for the lead Casey Affleck who is “a wiz at capturing muted, resigned anger,” and only briefly touches upon the performances of Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson and Sam Shephard.

There will be a devastating amount of horrible 300-500 words critiques in the near future, but Real America will certainly be better than most. It’s worth a read, but better analysis could have easily taken it to the next level.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation