Scott Cooper, director of the acclaimed 2009 film Crazy Heart, has returned to the world of down-on-their-luck middle-American characters, but with a markedly darker tone, with his new film Out of the Furnace.
The film, which was honored with a selection and screening at the AFI Fest on November 9, is an intensely dark drama with a simply stunning ensemble cast. Lead by Christian Bale, the film also stars Zoe Saldana, Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe, Forest Whitaker, Casey Affleck and Sam Shepard.
The film follows the lives of two brothers in America's rust belt, Ronald Baze (Affleck) and his older brother Russell Baze (Bale). When Russell gets sent to prison, Ronald ends up running with a ruthless gang, and paying the ultimate price. When Russell gets out, he must make a choice between hunting for justice, or striving for freedom and peace.
Cooper, who wrote the film as well, had high praise for the film's cast, especially its star.
"I think it is Christian [Bale]'s best performance," Cooper said. "It's very deep, and humane. There is subtle nuance. Acting with a lower-case 'a'. Not histrionics, or capital 'A' that so many performances get rewarded for. His is heartbreakingly good."
Check out the video for more from the stars of Out of the Furnace as they walked the red carpet at the AFI Fest screening.
Out of the Furnace is set to hit theaters December 6.