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Fury—Movie Review

Brad Pitt-FuryFury isn’t bad,
but it promises more than it can deliver. Perhaps, if you’ve never seen a World
War II movie, or any story about the roughhouse camaraderie of men in battle, you’ll
be forgiving of its tropes. The battle scenes are intense and the characters
well-drawn, if taken from a familiar Hollywood playbook. But writer-director
David Ayer set out to show us a side of WWII we haven’t seen before and in that
he has fallen short.

As a throwback to 1940s storytelling, Fury does score points. Brad Pitt does a solid job as a smart,
swaggering tank commander nicknamed Wardaddy who leads his crew into Germany in
April of 1945, during the war’s final days. There is mortal danger at every
turn, lurking in the woods or hiding out of sight in a seemingly quiet village:
the Nazis refuse to give up. Pitt and his men have already seen war at its
worst, unlike their new green recruit (Logan Lerman) and nothing shocks them
anymore. They all know they’ve committed atrocities, and it has changed them
forever; now, they’re just trying to stay alive.

Fury-Shia LaBeouf-680

The colorful, multi-ethnic characters who populate Pitt’s
tank (named Fury) could have come from a vintage movie like Howard Hawks’ Air Force. Shia LaBeouf is nicknamed
Bible, because he’s always quoting from the Good Book. Michael Peña is a
sharp-eyed Mexican-American gunner known as Gordo. Jon Bernthal is an
aggressive Southern hick nicknamed Coon-Ass. And fresh-faced Lerman is Norman,
the new guy who’s been sent into action from the typing pool. Any of this sound
familiar?

What a director like Hawks couldn’t have envisioned is the ability
to make wartime violence seem so real. In the post-Saving Private Ryan era, and with the help of CGI, a filmmaker like
Ayer can bring home the horrors of combat, long-range and close-up. The feeling
is compounded during a preposterously long sequence in which Pitt and Lerman
take a time-out from fighting to socialize with a German woman and her teenage
daughter. The point of the scene is made early on, and then driven home
repeatedly, with diminishing effect.

For the presumably male audience that craves action, Fury delivers the goods. Brad Pitt fans
will also be pleased. But I was hoping the film would offer insights about a phase of World War II that
hasn’t often been explored…and that’s the source of my disappointment.

          

11 comments

  1. raju says:

    good
    movie

  2. Rodriguez says:

    What I saw in this film that was different from other WW II films set in the European theater, there was a more emphasized acknowledgement of Hispanics and African Americans contributing to the war effort. In this film you have a Hispanic as main character and you see African Americans in the background in support roles.

  3. Alex says:

    I love a movie where you see us killing Nazi’s . The more Nazi’s that die in the movie the better the movie.

  4. Dolph Ramey says:

    Hasn’t been a Hollywood movie about Korea since "Pork Chop Hill" (I discount MacArthur). Nobody would watch such intense pain and death about the fight at the Yalu River when the Chinese entered the war.

  5. Carolyn says:

    WWII lasted for the USA from 1941 to 1945. Four years. Compare/contrast with the Vietnam War (17y), the War in Afghanistan (13y), Iraqui War (8y +?), the American Revolution (8 years). Actually, Wikipedia suggests that WWII was really only 3.7 years long. Sorry for being so wonky, but truly there is nothing about the war in Europe. Maybe the arc of war movies in toto is over?

  6. C.C. 95 says:

    So very few films about WWI. Almost as forgotten as the Korean war in Hollywood. Much material to be mined there.

  7. Lawrence Chadbourne says:

    Hi Leonard: I liked the way the producers and/or the writer-director allowed several scenes such as the fraternizing with the 2 women, and the attack on the tank at the end, to play out in full length so as to build in intensity.

  8. IT 2 IT says:

    GQ does World War II has been DONE to DEATH.

    And PITT made this SAME movie —a year ago!

    Meanwhile, franchise slum Hollywood
    ‘mysteriously overlooked’ the awesomely relevant
    60th Anniversary of the KOREAN WAR….

  9. Norm says:

    LM makes an interesting point, but fails to elaborate just what needs to be explored . The misery of war, the exhiliation of a kill, the emptyness of the end ? The fact that what is the ultimate game of real estate, break their toys and take the land. Simple , but drains the soul…Would be nice to send the Politicians instead of the electorate, war would be much shorter… Put that on film.

  10. Jeffrey says:

    WWII films are all well and good, but Hollywood needs to start exploring new material.

  11. Steven says:

    Fury has a much more impressive cast of Jewish actors (Logan Lerman, Jon Bernthal, Shia LaBeouf, Jason Isaacs) playing WWII soldiers than Pitt’s Inglourious Basterds did.

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