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Among fall movies there's the ones aiming for Oscars, the ones aiming for big audiences, and then every once in a while some that fall in the middle. We had pegged Out of the Furnace as pure prestige, coming from the writer and director of Crazy Heart and starring a laundry list of Oscar nominees and winners, from Christian Bale to Forest Whitaker. But this new trailer, which premiered at Apple and can be watched there in HD, seems to show off a much more entertaining side than we imagined. It's got economic distress and PTSD, sure, but there's also a ton of guns and underground boxing, and Woody Harrelson in super-villainous mode. Maybe this will be a more fun sit than we thought.
Writer-director Scott Cooper made his directorial debut with Crazy Heart after a career in acting, and its commitment to authentic run-down country music life-- not to mention its Oscar-winning original song "The Weary Kind"-- earned it far more attention than you might expect for a small indie. Cooper's ambitions are obviously bigger with Out of the Furnace, tackling a larger cast and a much broader range of topics. From this trailer it's a little hard to see how it will all tie together-- is a single movie really capable of telling stories about PTSD and economic hardship and underground fighting? But the trailer also seems to be actively aiming to keep the plot details at bay, using a cover of Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" to keep all but the most crucial dialogue out of it.
And maybe the best evidence of Cooper's talent, and the kind of movie he's pulled together, is the offers that have come his way since he started making it. He's reteaming with Out of the Furnace producer Leonardo DiCaprio for the 1930s-set crime thriller The Road Home, he's attached to a remake of the French film 36th Precinct, and biggest of all, he's stepped in to replace Ben Affleck as director of The Stand, a new adaptation of Stephen King's massive book. It's hard to imagine much that's more different from Crazy Heart, but Out of the Furnace seems poised to show a whole new dimension of Cooper's talents. Hollywood clearly believes in him already-- will this convince you to do the same?