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Parents' Guide to

The Furnace

By Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Diverse Australian Western has violence, racism, language.

Movie NR 2021 116 minutes
The Furnace Poster Image

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This Australian Western -- or, as they're known colloquially, a "meat pie Western" -- brings to light a period of late 19th-century Australia rarely shown on the big screen. The Furnace focuses on a time when the British imported camels from India and the Middle East, and in the process, coerced handlers into unpaid labor. The movie's diverse cast of characters -- including Sikhs, Afghans, and Persians -- are its main strength, as it gives writer-director Roderick MacKay opportunity to examine Australia's colonial past. The different groups alternate between co-operating and fighting among themselves, giving many scenes a heat that burns hotter than the outback's sun-scorched weather.

Unfortunately, the story The Furnace tells isn't as compelling as its cast. In contrast to its assured performances, there's just not enough plot to sustain an almost two-hour runtime, while too many characters meet predictable ends. Nonetheless, this is still a bold, interesting movie that has the potential to encourage filmmakers and audiences to think differently about a genre that is often guilty of neglecting the past.

Movie Details

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