A tragic revenge drama about a pair of blue-collar brothers battered by fate in a dying rust-belt town
A tragic revenge drama about a pair of blue-collar brothers battered by fate in a dying rust-belt town. This is almost unrelentingly grim, but the cast’s powerhouse performances keep you watching, as does the film’s vividly atmospheric sense of place. Christian Bale plays a doggedly loyal, morally upright steel worker in a Pennsylvania town who is striving to stand by his reckless younger brother (Casey Affleck), a troubled Iraq war veteran. Mired in gambling debts, he has become entangled with a violently psychopathic backwoods crime boss – played with terrifying menace by Woody Harrelson – who cooks up crystal meth and stages bare-knuckle fights in the Appalachian hills. You just know things will end badly. Bale, Affleck and Harrelson are mesmerising and the supporting cast is terrific, with Willem Dafoe, Sam Shepard, Zoë Saldana and Forest Whitaker all making an impact.