Newest Reviews
Eye of the Storm
Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands
Where No Vultures Fly
Come True
Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché
Madchen in Uniform
Fire Will Come
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Dead Pigs
Willy's Wonderland
It's in the Air
School's Out Forever
Stump the Guesser
Newest Articles
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
  Furnace, The Hate Over Gold
Year: 2020
Director: Roderick MacKay
Stars: Ahmed Malek, David Wenham, Jay Ryan, Mahesh Jadhu, Erik Thomson, Goran D. Kleut, Samson Coulter, Baykali Ganambarr, Gary Young, Osamah Sami, Kaushik Das, Trevor Jamieson, Mansoor Noor, Amanda Ma, Quentin Yung, Xin Ocean
Genre: Western, Drama, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Australia in the 1800s, and in the Outback the British Empire have imported camels to transport both troops and supplies across the vast deserts. The Europeans having little to no experience of training and handling these animals, they have also imported Middle Eastern and Indian "cameleers" from those regions of the Empire to take care of the beasts, often whether these men wanted to or not. One such individual is Hanif (Ahmed Malek) who has been taking camels to and from various destinations in the hope he can raise enough funds to buy his ticket back home, but this is proving difficult - and when fate intervenes, illegal.

Fate being one of his teammates, a Sikh named Jundah (Kaushik Das), getting murdered in the first ten minutes for having the audacity to talk back to a white man, who promptly fetches a gun and kills him, despite the fact Jundah was friendly, helpful and trying to defuse a situation that could have seen Hanif killed himself. The Aboriginal, Woorak (Baykali Gananmbarr), travelling with them then murders the killer in turn in revenge, which puts them in a tricky position, but not half as tricky as Hanif will be in after they stumble on the site of a massacre and he half-willingly opts to help out the sole surviving gold prospector calling himself Mal (David Wenham).

Mal has the gold they were fighting over, you see, but there's a problem if he wants to keep it; actually, there are two - he has a gunshot wound, and the bars have the mark of the British Crown on them, meaning anyone trying to trade them will be immediately exposed as having possession of stolen property. So what to do? Assuming he survives, Mal has a plan, simply get Hanif to help him cross the Outback to a furnace he knows of, where the precious metal can be melted down and made into new bars, this time without the mark. Yet as we have witnessed, there is nothing simple about any life out there, especially if you have the British Army hunting you down.

With that established, we could appreciate the debut feature of director Roderick MacKay, which like a lot of Australian films of the twenty-first century, entertained a definite streak of liberalist self-flagellation, particularly if it had been directed by a whitefella (or female equivalent). This reckoning with the past of the modern continent which had been born in pain and bloodshed was a common thread running through the nation's cinema, though at this point in time it was, as noted, the whites who were making these, which though generating some controversy was better than them not being made at all. MacKay for one was conscious to evoke the sunbleached Westerns of both Hollywood and Europe to appeal to a wider demographic and ground his concerns in the reliabilities of genre rather than be mired in social conscience.

That conscience was assuredly there, but The Furnace was careful to mix it in with a brutality of life as it was lived in Australia in the nineteenth century to add an edge to what could have been a relentlessly downbeat lament for the trampling of both cultures and individuals in the Imperial spread. MacKay was blessed with a dedicated cast, Malek making his first English language movie and proving a sympathetic performer, well-conveying the innocence of Hanif which despite it all he never quite leaves behind since we had to divine some notes of hope in what could have been a punishing hellscape. Contributing was Hanif and Mal were chased by troops led by Jay Ryan, serving up grit and borderline psychosis as an example of what contempt and too much power over people can do to a mind. Though women barely featured, the men were both of a type you would expect to see in one of the Aussie Westerns and slightly off-kilter as the gold obsession chips away at their egos. Love of money is the root of all evil, as the old saying goes, neatly and forcefully related here. Music by Mark Bradshaw.

[Signature Entertainment present The Furnace on Digital Platforms 25th January 2021.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 211 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan


Last Updated: