Sunday, February 15, 2015

Fury (2014) reviewed

Alyssa Couball, Writing Intern

Have you ever finished watching a movie and thought, “what the hell just happened?” Sadly, that happened to me at the end of Fury starring Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Jon Bernthal, and Logan Lerman. It felt as though the movie was completely improvised. It’s another WWII movie gone completely wrong. I learned a real lesson though: throw Brad Pitt in a movie, get a great marketing team, and have a box office winner. The movie grossed about 23 million dollars in its first week. Much like war, watching Fury is utter hell. The movie begins in the 1940s. The allied forces make their way through Germany on the way to Berlin. Along the way, Nazis try their best to stop them in the most gruesome ways possible--such as making children go into battle, and hanging those who decline to fight.

Brad Pitt plays Don "Wardaddy" Collier in the role of a commander of a five man tank crew. The five man crew includes Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan (Shia LaBeouf), the Hispanic driver Trini "Gordo" Garcia (Michael Pena), and the foul-mouthed mechanic Grady ‘Coon­Ass’ Travis (Jon Bernthal). As the movie opens, the men have just lost one of their drivers in battle and meet a young man who is not very experienced in the world of killing. His name’s Norman Ellison (Logan Lerman). I almost hate to say it, but I enjoyed the youngster’s role in the movie more than Brad Pitt’s. As the story progresses, the crew becomes more and more fed up with the new kid. He can’t stand the sight of blood, or even fire a gun. Eventually, Ellison begins to surprise everyone as he first loses his virginity, then learns the gun and how to use it. Ellison finally meshes and becomes one of the boys. In the end, Fury, (the name of the group’s tank) is left to fend for itself as the other tanks become ambushed. Will these five brave soldiers defeat 300+ SS troops? Will they crack under pressure?

The problem with this movie is that we expect too much from it. Commentators and audiences compare this movie to other war movies such as Saving Private Ryan. This movie does not come close. Saving Private Ryan is a war classic that cannot and should not be duplicated. Also, don’t watch a movie like American Sniper before watching Fury. That was my mistake. Or, just don’t watch it at all. The dialogue drags. There is a scene in the movie where Pitt and Ellison meet with a few German women. The sequence starts nicely, but seems to drag on forever. And while the plot of the movie is entirely realistic, the end scene is nothing short of implausible. The end results in the groups’ tank breaking down. They’re forced to fight 300+ SS troops. Facing impossible odds, the five men overwhelm most of the 300. All that being said, the movie does have a few strong points.

Director David Ayer did a nice job of highlighting dark and light scenes. The portrayal of the time period is almost spot on. The drama is heartfelt, such as Ellison’s internal struggle. It’s nice to see his transition from trembling-under-pressure to hero. Had the movie focused more on the characters and dialogue, over the battle scenes, I would recommend it. Unfortunately, Fury just doesn't hold up in a world of similar war movies.
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