We gave it an A-
Back in 2011, director Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart) promised Christian Bale that he wouldn’t make this mystery thriller without him. Scheduling conflicts forced Bale to pull out, but the star couldn’t get its story out of his mind: An ex-con (Bale) avenges his missing brother (Casey Affleck) by going after a crime boss (Woody Harrelson) in the steel town of Braddock, Pa. ”When I had a couple days off from filming The Dark Knight Rises, I would drive out to Braddock,” says Bale. Luckily, his schedule cleared up, and Cooper reports that the actor’s strong and quiet performance is his best yet. ”He’s really masterful, but in a not-showy way.” All the better to hear the Oscar buzz building around it.