Fury – 3.5/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

FuryFury – 3.5/5 – When it comes to films about war, there is a plethora to choose from.  No matter what time frame that a film about war takes on (Revolutionary, WWII, or modern wars); there is one specific thing that makes them great; atmosphere.  From the worst to the best; creating the atmosphere about being on the battlefield is a must.  Fury is a film that does its job in creating what is war, how it affects people and what you must do when faced with the ultimate decision.  With a great cast and overall tone, Fury is what you can call a really great experience.

Premise: War is hell; even in the latter days of WWII.  Following a band of misfits who control a tank, one must find a reason for survival.  Even as the worst becomes reality, can you still find a purpose to live till the end?

The strength in this film is how the focus is not on one main character, but on the ensemble cast.  Within the cast, it focuses on a specific group of soldiers of a tank squadron.  In that squad, you have:

Brad Pitt as Don ‘War Daddy’ Collier

Shia LaBeouf as Boyd ‘Bible’ Swan

Logan Lerman as Norman Ellison

Michael Pena as Trini ‘Gordo’ Garcia

Jon Bernthal as Grady ‘Coon-Ass’ Travis

This group of actors (as a whole) gives stand-out performances in this film.  Each of the characters provides strong individualism.  No matter if we are talking about the leader (War Daddy) or the new coming (Norman), they are distinct, raw and conflicted by the images of living in this world war.  The one thing that links them together is that they all create characters feel real.  You feel their importance in the roles they play for the tank.  As mentioned above, leading the pack of misfits is Brad Pitt.  In the role of Don ‘War Daddy’ Collier, Pitt gives you an arrogant but staunch leader.  Through his strong acting, he shows you what brutality and choice means in time of war, but also shed a layer of wanting to be ‘normal’ again at times in the film.  That conflict of image vs. truth shows the multiple layers of emotions that can be created from one aspect of life.  Out of the rest of the guys, Shia LaBeouf and Logan Lerman stand out from the other two guys.  The reason they stand out more is the complexion of humanity that they create. Their interactions between them and the others (especially with War Daddy) are riveting.  You see that they want to do their job but also are conflicted with the reasons to kill.  This dual approach makes you feel purpose, but also feel the remorse in their eyes.  The other two (Bernthal and Pena) do great in creating the darker side of what ‘war’ can do, but don’t go beyond their own shtick they have in other films.  The secondary cast, which includes the Allied Soldiers, German citizens and the Nazi Soldiers, are basic to any war films.  There purpose is felt as ‘background’ complexion for the main group.

The direction of this film is that, there really isn’t any for a lot of the film.  For the first 2/3rds of the film, you have no direction or story.  The film puts all its focus on the group of guys and their lives with their tank; how they ‘experience’ WWII in the later days (when they are in Germany).  In this approach, there are definite pros and cons:

Pros: Strong emphasize on characterization; deep atmospheric creation; raw tone; fluid realism

Cons: Lack of progression or linear development; hazy use of themes; disjointed scenes and focus.

With the film’s lack of direction helps create a playground where the characters (if great acting) can shine.  The raw vigor you find in each character makes you believe the horrors of war; living through those tortures and hell of to survive for an eventual end.  Through them, you feel the hard ache of losing a close comrade, tense moments created from the ‘instant’ strategy in battles and the ultimate consequence of choice.  Even with a strong focus on the character, the lacking of direction does create a place where moments feel uneven, leading to questions on how certain moments lead into others.  This causes an experience that is invigorating but predictable, not hiding the fact of what you ‘think’ might happen is obviously going t to happen.  Seeing the next move can be underwhelming, but you still are enjoying the build up to the third act.  Once the film gets to the third act, a ‘focal point’ comes to the forefront, which leads down the path of the traditional ‘ultimate showdown’ found in most war films.  Even as the film goes down the path of a ‘sacrificial’ climax and a ‘hero’s welcome’ endings, you still feel the intensity in surviving, and the tireless journey of what war can do; even for the youngest soldiers.

The visuals of the film are beyond mesmerizing.  From the creation of ‘war torn’ Germany, the tank/soldiers battles and the inside of the tank, you feel that ‘gruesome’ reality without being pushed of the edge.  That delicate balance of brutality and humanity creates visuals that are encapsulating with emotional overtures.  Even with the lacking of a story and direction for most of the film, the visuals keep you drawn to the film.  That window of ‘realistic’ perspective makes you feel the heart within the experience; and what that means to constant intensity.  The score is subtle but daunting; creating a cover for the visuals.  The music (in general) encompasses the atmosphere created by everything else in the film.

Fury might have some lacking ploys from the start, but with strong characters and a pragmatic approach to war, this is worth watching on the big screen.  If you are a fan of Brad Pitt or war films, this is one for you.  Fury will not disappoint.

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