"Black Mass" dramatizes a story too incredible and too appalling to invent. Told from the viewpoint of FBI agent John Connolly, it traces the rise to dominance of the brutal, South Boston criminal kingpin Jimmy "Whitey" Bulger from the late '70s to the early 80s. Secondary attention goes to Massachusetts State Senator Billy Bulger, Whitey's politically powerful brother.
"Out of the Furnace" wants to be a blue collar, gritty film, and it succeeds. Set in Braddock, Pennsylvania (near Pittsburgh) in 2008, the future for the steel mill workers looks about as bleak as the sky and the town. Two brothers pursue different paths: Russell still employed at the mill, younger Rodney floundering, heading off to Iraq.