Monday, October 27, 2014

Fury - Movie Review

Fury, directed by David Ayer (End of Watch and Street Kings), tells the story of a five man tank crew as they traverse German territory near the end of World War II. The movie stars Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBouf, Michael Pena, and Jon Bernthal.

Tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier earned his nickname after surviving countless missions from Africa through Europe and on his way into Germany. When Collier and his crew finally suffer a casualty, they reluctantly take on a replacement who has zero experience in battle and who's only training outside of basic was behind a desk. As the Allied forces press their attack, each battle becomes more intense with the German military looking to protect its own soil, and the crew of the tank known as "Fury" is put to the ultimate test.

This movie is being hyped as an Oscar contender and David Ayers seems to have done everything he can to see those prognostications become a reality. There is plenty of gritty drama to go around and the action is intense and, at times, brutal. The story is very well put together although I did feel the ending didn't have quite the emotional punch I was looking for. There is a lot of the same DNA that made Saving Private Ryan the definitive World War II movie that it is although it's pretty clear that Ayers is not on the same level as Mr. Spielberg was during that time. My other issue with the movie, and maybe this was just me, was how I kept waiting for Brad Pitt to fall into his iconic Lt. Aldo Raine character from Inglourious Basterds and it kind of took away from the hardened leader he was trying to portray here.

From a technical standpoint, this movie has very few flaws. Ayers did a great job of putting the audience right inside the tank with the crew and you could almost feel every jolt from nearby mortal shells and the ping of gunfire ricocheting off the hull. When the tank crew found itself in the middle of a battle, you are right there with them experiencing a very real sense of danger with soldiers from both sides falling all around them. There is one particular three-on-one tank battle that I would say is the absolute highlight of the film and really nails what this film is trying to accomplish. I almost wish this battle had been staged as the movie's climax instead of what ends up playing out at the end. Of course, I can't really explain why without giving away the ending so I won't.

Fury is a very well made film and will fit nicely among the top tier of World War II movies although I wouldn't put it on my list of favorite films or performances for the year. The story hits a lot of the right beats, Pitt is solid in the lead role, and the rest of the cast falls in line behind him, but the ending, which is over dramatic and becomes convoluted, keeps the whole thing from being the classic war story it is very much trying to be. That being said, I would definitely recommend seeing this movie and especially if you are a fan of the genre.


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