Yes, Christian Bale, a Brit, does a pretty good (Self says “pretty good,” but bear in mind self has never actually met an honest-to-goodness American steelworker) rendition of a member of one of America’s oppressed classes. He’s a steel worker, trapped in an almost-obsolete industry, and feeling tremendous responsibility for a ne’er-do-well younger brother, played affectingly by Casey Affleck (A first! Self never thought she would end up describing any Casey Affleck performance as “affecting.”)
As he ages, Christian Bale’s face seems to be developing sharper angles. The eyes burn with intensity. He appears, at moments, almost Christ-like.
His dad is dying, but at least he has a steady source of income, which allows him to bail his brother out of scrapes, again and again and again and again.
He also has a beautiful girlfriend, played by Zoe Saldana.
But, alas, the lives of the oppressed are so complicated. Bale’s younger brother has many “issues.” He likes to gamble but always loses. He likes money but doesn’t know how to get some. He has to do four tours of duty in Iraq.
But one thing he has in spades is courage. Because at the crucial moment, when everything is laid on the line, he doesn’t flinch. Instead he says, “I don’t care.”
Self was pretty amazed that a movie like this got made. It was so depressing. It was like the movies of the 70s and early 80s: “Prince of the City,” “Serpico,” “They Shoot Horses Don’t They” and the like (But none of those earlier movies had Christian Bale! Which makes us, moviegoers of 2013, VERY lucky!)
Sam Shepard does a nice turn as a supportive uncle.
There is a deer-hunting scene which made self think of — what else? — “The Deer Hunter.” When the deer is strung up for flaying or filleting or what not, the sight is extremely disturbing. It has a resemblance to a human. Honestly. A very skinny, eviscerated human. To think, only a month ago, self saw “12 Years a Slave.”
Aaargh! She arrived home and began searching through her “On Demand” selections for episodes of “Louie.”
One more thing: Willem Dafoe’s hair, in this movie, is a wonder to behold.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.