REVIEW: ‘Fury’

Director:
David Ayer
Cast:
Brad Pitt
Shia LaBeouf
Logan Lerman
Michael Pena
Jon Bernthal
Rated: R

In “Fury,” Logan Lerman plays Norman Ellison, a rookie soldier who gets brought into an American tank unit in the waning days of World War II. As Norman arrives at the front, he gets teamed up with an experienced crew that operate a tank called Fury.

The leader of this tank crew is nicknamed Wardaddy, played by Brad Pitt.

Norman’s new crew also includes Boyd (LaBeouf), Gordo (Pena) and Grady (Bernthal). As the tank pushes into German controlled territory, Norman is faced with challenges he has never seen before as he sees the horrors of war.

The story of “Fury” is very much like what audiences have seen in other war films. “Saving Private Ryan” is probably the closest example that a person can think of, however, “Fury” falls far short of reaching the cinematic heights that Spielberg captured in the ’90s.

Not only does the story seem to familiar, it also has a scene that kills a lot of the momentum in the middle of the film. There is a scene where the troops, after taking control of a city, come into the home of two German women and there are some things that ensue that are supposed to show that “war is hell.”

This scene in particular goes on for what felt like half an hour, which was far too long. The real issue with it, though, is that it goes over the top in its message that war is terrible, and it leads into my next point.

The characters in this movie are completely unlikable, as they almost all come off as war criminals. There is a scene near the beginning where Pitt’s character forces Lerman’s character to do something that is inexcusable to another soldier.

Now, once again, it’s easy to see what they were going for here. It’s understandable that they wanted to show what these men had to go through, but it felt like this movie wanted to take it too far.

In “Saving Private Ryan,” there were discussions between the characters in regards to crimes of war and each character was flawed, but at the same time showed some level of humanity.

The same can be said about “We Were Soldiers,” which also had a person new to combat, in that case a photographer/reporter who had to fight. That was another scenario that showed soldiers right in the grit of warfare, and yet kept their humanities. Sure they are tough as nails and can be jerks occasionally, yet they were still soldiers fighting in a war.

The characters in “Fury” are practically war criminals, and the worst part of it is that the movie expects you to root for them in the final climactic, glorious battle.

It’s not to say that the acting is necessarily bad. There was a feeling from the actors who played the crew that they had been in combat together for many years.

Brad Pitt was also solid as the lead tank commander, delivering all of the lines very well and giving a perfect 1,000 yard stare. The only issue is that the characters were simply written to over emphasis a message that has been done better in other movies with more subtlety.

The biggest compliment to “Fury” is it’s technical side, and Director David Ayer and his crew really excel in this category.

The battle scenes are intense, well shot, and capture the atmosphere of war with the grey skies and, ruined buildings and open country sides of the European front.

The use of sound was great, every bullet and shell fired are felt by an audience when it hits a person’s ear.

From an action standpoint, “Fury” does do an adequate job. The battles are suspenseful, exciting and capture ones attention.

Are they worth the price of admission alone? Maybe. The action certainly gives a reason to watch this movie, but really at a matinee only. The theater only gives the advantage of making the action more exciting with the bigger screen and speakers.

When it comes to the film’s depth, though, it becomes a little more flawed.

Instead of having characters that were flawed, but still humanized, they tipped the scales and made them monsters, which made them unlikable, which in turn made it hard to care when one of them was killed. It gets a Low 3 out of 5, making the grade only with its action sequences.

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Author: Matthew Liedke

My name is Matthew Liedke. I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, but I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I now write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead where I studied journalism and film. Outside of film, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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