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Moria MacDonald’s “Downward Spiral” Is Thoughtful and Enchanting

In response to Moira MacDonald’s 329‑word review of Out of the Furnace on Seattle Times

By ,

Moria MacDonald enchants the audience with her fine work in “‘Out of the Furnace: Siblings on a Downward Spiral.”

What a pleasure it is to experience a reviewer who is not about pretense or trying to impress the audience with forced humor. For MacDonald, it is about the work and being straightforward and honest about her opinions, and backing them up as well. If her words don’t jump off the page, well, they don’t have to. They do have to inform and entertain, and the critic’s work here happily does both.

Note how, right in the first paragraph, she compares this director’s second feature with his first, making clear, salient points without flying off on a tangent as others of her ilk often do. Note also how she uses one paragraph—just one!—to let the audience know what the film is about without having to give a blow-by-blow account. MacDonald is smart enough to know that it’s the film’s job to tell the movie’s story, not hers.

Her job is to give her opinion of the film, and this she does with true skill and insight. Take note of how wonderfully she describes Bales’s performance in the film by focusing on one particular moving scene in which he shines. This is a true craftsman who knows what she’s doing.

If Downward Spiral ends rather abruptly, well, this can be forgiven, because the journey of getting there is such a joy. This one is well worth the time. Don’t pass it up.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation