Tuesday, October 21, 2014

FURY (2014)

"Ideals are peaceful. History is violent." - Don "Wardaddy" Collier
FURY tells the story of five soldiers battling fiercely during the final days of World War II inside a tank nicknamed "Fury" (thank God it wasn't named "Nazi Killer" or the marketing department at Columbia would have really had an uphill battle.) The soldiers are led by the aforementioned Collier, played with weary determination by Brad Pitt. His tactical team, usually referred by their nicknames, are the taciturn Bible (Shia LaBoeuf, nicely underplaying) jokester Gordo (Michael Pena) Southern wild card Coon-Ass (Jon Bernthal) and the wet-behind-the-ears typist Norman (Logan Lerman, the Charlie Sheen of this platoon.)
The film is nearly non-stop action as the men inside Fury encounter one firefight after another. Director David Ayer (TRAINING DAY, END OF WATCH) puts the audience inside the tank and lets them witness the frantic procedures that go into firing a single missile. Easing the tension somewhat is the camaraderie amongst the men who refer to Fury as their home and behave like fraternity brothers.
Just when you think FURY is going to be one long battle, Ayer takes the men out of the tank and into the home of two German woman, one older, one much younger, where Collier and Norman bring them contraband goods in exchange for a meal and a place to a enjoy a brief respite from the sturm und drang It is easily the best scene in the film, as language remains a constant barrier for Norman and the younger, fresh-faced, Emma who slowly develop an attraction for one another. Ever the itinerant sergeant, Collier goads the virginal Norman into cutting to the chase as it were by curtly telling him," If you don't take her to the bedroom, then I will."
This extend moment of good will and reverie is eventually interrupted by the arrival of Collier's tank-mates and the peaceful mood cracks like a delicate eggshell. Just like Fury itself, the soldiers must constantly push forward, as war has no time for idleness.
The climactic battle of FURY is quite spectacular, and much like SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, the horrors that the men encounter make the survivors envy the dead, as they at least won't be left with permanent scars.
It's quite a good film, but far from perfect. Pitt is good but not INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS good and some of the tragic moments are a bit arch. The Nazis are generally faceless targets in a shooting gallery but there are so many arresting moments, that the less successful scenes don't take away from the fact that FURY is an exciting, disturbing, yet poignant film, aggressively told by a director that has made his best movie to date.

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