Hanif (Ahmed Malek) is an Afghan cameleer who has desires to leave the Australian outback. At the start of the film, we witness a horrific moment in Hanif’s life that makes him fed up with his current ways, including his beliefs regarding religion. This tragic moment births desperation to leave the outback with hopes of never turning back.
While on his new journey to leave, Hanif meets a wounded man named Mal (David Wenham), who has been shot during a gunfight at night. As Hanif meets the stranger, he soon learns a significant discovery. You see, Mal is currently a wanted man because he carries stolen crown gold in his backpack. For the gold to be untraceable, it requires a furnace to melt it and turn it into a plain gold brick. For Hanif, this gold brick could be his best ticket to start a new life. Hanif and Mal agree to team up together and form an unlikely new friendship as they attempt to escape the outback. But can Hanif trust his new partner to split the gold with him?
The film’s opening, while dramatic, is powerful. We can fully understand Hanif’s current life as a cameleer, and audiences can sympathise with his reasoning for wanting to move away from the outback. Mal’s introduction is quite vague and mysterious, which I enjoyed seeing. Mal is indeed a stranger in this film and introduces many questions, especially if he can be trusted or if he is filled with lies and betrayal.
Visually, The Furnace is downright applauded worthy. The visuals are sharp and tremendous, including beautiful imagery of the Australian outback. I found myself feeling rather impressed by the film’s visual and filming style from start to finish.
As a plot, it is rather enjoyable thanks to the film’s pacing, which is also excellent, and the film gets underway quickly, even more so once Mal is introduced and mystery is added. The chemistry the two leads share is also great as the characters are different but have a common goal together. There are many moments where both actors shine with their dramatic performances.
Overall, The Furnace exceeded my expectations. It is a beautiful and powerful film loaded with great performances from both David Wenham and Ahmed Malek. Visually this film is stunning to watch from start to finish. The film’s plot is also great and does not take long to get underway. The film builds up to a tense third act but reveals a few moments that feel somewhat vague and left to the viewers to decide on specific outcomes. No matter, I had a great time with this dramatic Australian film, and coming from a first-time director, it comes highly recommended.
The Furnace (2020) is Now Available on Blu-ray & DVD!