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Chris Hewitt’s “Fingernail” Is a Cookie-Cutter Review for American Readers

In response to Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)’s 490‑word review of Out of the Furnace on St. Paul Pioneer Press

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Chris Hewitt produces a commercial critique with the uninspired “Out of the Furnace review: So intense, there won’t be a fingernail left to bite.”

Hewitt begins Fingernail without making a clear argument, and instead teases at the dangerous and ominous cast. The major problem with the open is that the critic fails to produce anything of value on the performances, unless you count the re-telling of Christian Bale gutting a deer.

Fingernail is the classic hype review, in which Hewitt attempts to appeal to his audience with a reference to the Jennifer Lawrence flick Winter’s Bone and the Oscar-nominated cast of the Out of the Furnace. It’s beyond frustrating that Hewitt would hype the cast, and then refuse to address their performances. Well, he does expand a bit on Woody Harrelson’s character but only with another movie reference.

As far as direction, Hewitt says little about poor Scott Cooper in Fingernail. His “command of the mounting tension” is…“impressive.” Guess what else is impressive… One sentence on Cooper’s look at American economy.

Hewitt offers everything that the typical American reader is looking for in Fingernail, but the depth of the piece is far from mind stimulating.

Fingernail is a  cookie-cutter work that does just enough to appeal to the masses.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation