Starring: Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Sam Shepard, Willem Dafoe, Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, Forest Whitaker
Directed by: Scott Cooper
Synopsis: When Rodney Baze mysteriously disappears and law enforcement doesn’t follow through fast enough, his older brother, Russell, takes matters into his own hands to find justice.
This film tended to remind me, in part, of another Christian Bale movie, The Fighter, I think because of it’s industrial, poverty stricken surroundings and the two brothers. Much like my recent review of Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, this is a real ‘Americana’ feel to it, due to the locations and the characters (especially the hill people). It is perhaps a tad too long, and my wife certainly thought it was slow and ultimately boring. I disagree. I thought it was a pretty good film throughout, with a cast as good as this, it maybe should have been a bit better, it’s hardly original, but it’s a decent enough story carried along with some quality acting.
Yeah, the acting. Bale and Affleck are great as the two brothers. Russell (Bale) the hardworking ‘straight’ one who actually goes to prison due to an accident, and Rodney (Affleck) is the soldier-cum-bare knuckle fighter with a gambling addiction. Rodney is in with a bad crowd and ultimately gets mixed up with the truly terrifying red neck Harlan De Groot (Harrelson). Things then go awry forcing Russell to step in. I thought Casey Affleck gave a strong (non mumbly) performance, and Harrelson and Dafoe were great. Saldana, Shephard and Whitaker were all solid performers too.
Whilst this movie isn’t as good as the following, I think you would like it if you like:
- No Country For Old Men
- The Fighter
- The Deer Hunter
- Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
Overall, despite slight reservations, I thought it was a very well put together movie, thus I would score it