Seeing this film's premise, one can’t help but wonder what would have happened had filmmakers cast Christian Bale as the protagonist in every Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson movie. On its face, the movie's plot doesn’t stray too far from your basic vengeance action flick: a wrong man goes up against a seemingly unstoppable force of evil to rescue/ avenge his loved ones. This movie is a true testament to what an incredible cast can do for a script.
Russell Baze (Bale) is a good man with incredibly bad luck. When his brother, Rodney (Casey Affleck), returns from a tour of duty in Iraq and gets mixed up with a violent criminal element, he suddenly disappears. When local law enforcement will not help, Russell is forced to head into the belly of the beast to find his brother. Once there, he must confront the ominous Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson).
Honestly, I don’t mind 90 percent of white-knuckle anxiety in a movie as long as the payoff is worth it. In this case, it seems the filmmakers wanted to avoid the formulaic action flick plot and as a result, the film fizzles. The acting is incredible—the cast boasts two Oscar winners and three nominees; and visually, the film is bleak and stirring. In the end though, the story is a lot of build-up to a forgettable finish. It’s a 6.