Friday, October 17, 2014

Fury Movie Review

Brad Pitt (r) stars in David Ayer's Fury

Saving Fury

I came in to David Ayer's Fury half-expecting Saving Private Ryan, only inside a tank. So much for jumping to conclusions. Fury bears some resemblance to the 5x Oscar winner (Germany, WWII, seemingly insurmountable odds in the finale) but stands out on its own as one of this year's best films, and quite possibly one of the 10 best military movies ever made (story idea!) In three words... I loved it.

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: April, 1945. As the Allies make their final push in the European Theatre, a battle-hardened army sergeant named Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) commands a Sherman tank and her five-man crew on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. Outnumbered and outgunned, and with a rookie soldier thrust into their platoon, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.

What’s Best: Expect praise to be heaped upon Pitt; and it's well-deserved. Pitt delivers a combination of Lt. Aldo Raine (Inglourious Basterds) and Hanks' Captain John H. Miller (Saving Private Ryan) along with his trademark good looks and sheer manliness. To be honest, it's an awesome combination; and it may be good enough for another Oscar nom (even this year, with so many worthy performances.) He absolutely owns the best scene in the movie - a mesmerizing confrontation with his crew, over breakfast in a German apartment. Great stuff.

Pitt's far from alone in this one... Everyone in his crew plays their parts perfectly, including Shia LaBeouf (who I've been known to bash in the past.) LaBeouf displays humility without relinquishing strength, and it looks good great on him. Michael Peña tackles a grittier character for a change, and (as usual) he excels. Logan Lerman's Norman annoys at first, but eventually shines as he's christened by the trials of war. Lastly, DC's own Jon Bernthal almost steals the show as the film's most authentic character ("Coon-Ass") who strikes you as the kind of guy who's lived in a tank for a tour or two. Kudos to Lindsay Graham and Mary Vernieu for superb casting.

What’s Not: Fury is all about war, with a brief respite in the middle of the film (the aforementioned scene that precedes and includes breakfast.) Some may find the entire movie too gritty; but as Wardaddy reminds Norman, 'Ideals are peaceful. History is violent.' Speaking of, Fury shows a great deal of violence... often brief, but no less scary.

Best Line: Peña's Gordo offers sage advice to Norman, 'Remember, short bursts... That way, you'll harvest more meat per bullet.' but I prefer Bernthal's softer, 'I think we ain't, but you are (a good man)' also directed at Norman.

Overall: Fury has it all. A haunting (yet terrific) soundtrack, great sound effects (that whistling sound, as bullets and shells ricochet/whiz by) and unrivaled intensity throughout. Great action too (decapitation by shell and a thrilling one-on-one tank battle, at close quarters with a German Tiger 131.) Ayers' direction is brilliant, as is Roman Vasyanov's chilling cinematography. Led by Pitt, this could be the finest quintet of actors I've seen all year. Perhaps not as innovative as Edge of Tomorrow, but just as good. This year's race for Best Film just became a lot more interesting.