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Rene Rodriguez’s “Out of the Furnace” Blazes Despite Missteps

In response to Rene Rodriguez’s 621‑word review of Out of the Furnace on Miami Herald

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Rene Rodriguez makes a case once again that he’s one of the better newspaper film critics in the country with his review “‘Out of the Furnace’ (R).”

Rodriguez gets right down to business, opening with a no nonsense, concise summary of the plot, then provides a little context with director Scott Cooper’s background (this is his sophomore effort, which is always a story in Criticland). Rodriguez knows enough not to linger on this too long, but the piece suffers briefly when he inexplicably (and needlessly) wastes time going back to more rehashing of the plot and describing the characters’ motivations.

The ship is righted quickly, though, and Rodriguez shows why he makes so much paper with probingly insightful critique and on-point prose. “Affleck is heartbreaking” and Christian Bale plays Russell with “grace and dignity” in this “boozy, searing portrait of disenfranchised people trying — and not always succeeding — to eke out an existence.”

Rodriguez is a modern critic. His work is a reaction to the overly flowery, self important prose of hipster reviewers; it’s down to earth and accessible without being too dumbed down.

While Furnace (R) isn’t one of his best, it’s a solid outing from a consistently excellent critic.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation