This is a movie that takes a basic story - a very, very basic story - and shows that it can be a quality product if done right. The plot sounds like one of those Patrick Swayze revenge movies, but this has more on its mind. Director Scott Cooper gives each scene time to breathe, and good actors come through for him.
Bale and Affleck play brothers from a small town hurt by the bad economy. Bale's the older brother who works in the mill, Affleck the younger Iraq War vet who wants to break out of their poverty-stricken life, and he earns money quickly by bare-knuckle brawling. When he starts to get mixed up with some dangerous people, Bale goes a quest for answers/revenge.
Story-wise it didn't go anywhere surprising, but by taking action-movie tropes and applying them to a somber drama style, it made for a richer experience.